George Dvorsky, prominent futurist and writer on ethics and technology, will explore “Artificial Super-Intelligence and the Coming Technological Singularity” during the month of July.
Description: This class introduces the key concepts and theories as they pertain to the hypothesized Technological Singularity, or Intelligence Explosion. We will survey the history of the idea, the state of artificial intelligence today, and the theoretical underpinnings that give rise to the prospect of greater-than-human machine intelligence. Topics to be discussed will include the brain-as-computer analog, Accelerating Change, brain mapping initiatives, whole brain emulations versus rules-based AI, the various definitions of the Singularity, and Friendly. Along the way we will discuss the benefits and risks posed by machine superintelligence, and the ethical considerations involved.
start/end dates – July 1 / July 31, 2014
Schedule and readings: Specific reading and discussion goals are set for each week, and students can proceed at their own pace. There are no live events planned. An assortment of resources will be used, including academic papers, online presentations, instructional videos, and popular articles. Everything to be read and discussed is provided at no extra charge inside the virtual classroom. Students can proceed at their own pace and there are no video presentations that could be missed. Visit the class anytime to contribute your thoughts and receive our replies in discussion forums.
GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructor respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.
Canadian futurist, science writer, and ethicist George Dvorsky has written and spoken extensively about the impacts of cutting-edge science and technology—particularly as they pertain to the improvement of human performance and experience. George is a contributing editor at io9 where he writes about science, culture, and futurism. A founding member of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, he is its Chair of the Board and the founder and program director for its Rights of Non-Human Persons program. In addition, George is the co-founder and president of the Toronto Transhumanist Association and has served on the Board of Directors for Humanity+ for two terms. His work has been featured in such publications as The Guardian, the BBC, CBC, Forbes, the New York Times, Slate, Radio Free Europe, and al-Jazeera. He is also an avid CrossFitter, an ancestral health enthusiast, and an accomplished music performer, composer, and recording engineer.