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Future Progress in Artificial Intelligence: A Survey of Expert Opinion

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI,volume 376)

Abstract

There is, in some quarters, concern about high–level machine intelligence and superintelligent AI coming up in a few decades, bringing with it significant risks for humanity. In other quarters, these issues are ignored or considered science fiction. We wanted to clarify what the distribution of opinions actually is, what probability the best experts currently assign to high–level machine intelligence coming up within a particular time–frame, which risks they see with that development, and how fast they see these developing. We thus designed a brief questionnaire and distributed it to four groups of experts in 2012/2013. The median estimate of respondents was for a one in two chance that high-level machine intelligence will be developed around 2040–2050, rising to a nine in ten chance by 2075. Experts expect that systems will move on to superintelligence in less than 30 years thereafter. They estimate the chance is about one in three that this development turns out to be ‘bad’ or ‘extremely bad’ for humanity.

Keywords

  • Artificial intelligence
  • AI
  • Machine intelligence
  • Future of AI
  • Progress
  • Superintelligence
  • Singularity
  • Intelligence explosion
  • Humanity
  • Opinion poll
  • Expert opinion

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Notes

  1. 1.

    There is a collection of predictions on http://www.neweuropeancentury.org/SIAI-FHI_AI_predictions.xls

  2. 2.

    A further, more informal, survey was conducted in August 2007 by Bruce J Klein (then of Novamente and the Singularity Institute) “… on the time–frame for when we may see greater–than–human level AI”, with a few numerical results and interesting comments, archived on https://web.archive.org/web/20110226225452/http://www.novamente.net/bruce/?p = 54

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Acknowledgements

Toby Ord and Anders Sandberg were helpful in the formulation of the questionnaire. The technical work on the website form, sending mails and reminders, database and initial data analysis was done by Ilias Nitsos (under the guidance of VCM). Theo Gantinas provided the emails of the TOP100. Stuart Armstrong made most graphs for presentation. The audience at the PT-AI 2013 conference in Oxford provided helpful feedback. Mark Bishop, Carl Shulman, Miles Brundage and Daniel Dewey made detailed comments on drafts. We are very grateful to all of them.

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Correspondence to Vincent C. Müller .

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Appendices

Appendices

  1. 1.

    Questionnaire

  2. 2.

    Letter sent to participants

1.1 Appendix 1: Online Questionnaire

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1.2 Appendix 2: Letter to Participants (Here TOP100)

Dear Professor [surname],

given your prominence in the field of artificial intelligence we invite you to express your views on the future of artificial intelligence in a brief questionnaire. The aim of this exercise is to gauge how the top 100 cited people working in the field view progress towards its original goals of intelligent machines, and what impacts they would associate with reaching these goals.

The questionnaire has 4 multiple choice questions, plus 3 statistical data points on the respondent and an optional ‘comments’ field. It will only take a few minutes to fill in.

Of course, this questionnaire will only reflect the actual views of researchers if we get nearly everybody to express their opinion. So, please do take a moment to respond, even (or especially) if you think this exercise is futile or misguided.

Answers will be anonymous. Results will be used for Nick Bostrom’s forthcoming book “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies” (Oxford University Press, 2014) and made publicly available on the site of the Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology: http://www.futuretech.ox.ac.uk.

Please click here now:

[link]

Thank you for your time!

Nick Bostrom & Vincent C. Müller

University of Oxford

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Müller, V.C., Bostrom, N. (2016). Future Progress in Artificial Intelligence: A Survey of Expert Opinion. In: Müller, V.C. (eds) Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence. Synthese Library, vol 376. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-26485-1_33

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