Conference to examine dangers of artificial intelligence

The dangers of unchecked research into artificial intelligence will be explored at a conference held at Oxford University next month.

The Winter Intelligence Conference is organised by the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University and will be held 8-11 December at St Anne's College, Oxford.

It will feature leading international experts in this emerging field who will examine the impact artificial general intelligence (AGI) will have on the world.

The conference will bring together leading AGI researchers and philosophers in order to bring the two fields into dialogue, addressing both the mechanics and the safety, ethical, and sociological ramifications of artificial general intelligence.

Professor Nick Bostrom of Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute said: 'Where AGI is concerned, safety, ethics, and consideration of social impacts are essential ingredients in the mix. They cannot be sprinkled on later, as mere afterthoughts, but need to be carefully integrated during the field's development.

'Ensuring that the eventual impact of machine intelligence will benefit humanity requires solving daunting problems, both technical and philosophical. This is more likely to happen if there is close collaboration between the best computer scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers.'

Dr Ben Goertzel, AGI conference series chair, said: 'Most of the AI out there in academia and industry today is what Ray Kurzweil has called 'narrow AI'—the production of AI systems displaying intelligence regarding specific, highly constrained tasks... But it’s even more exciting and important to work directly toward machines that can really think for themselves, autonomously and creatively.'

Dr Stuart Armstrong of Oxford University's FHI, who has helped organise the conference, added: 'While millions of pounds are pumped into researching artificial intelligence and bringing the possibilities of AI closer to reality than ever before, relatively little thought has gone into the ethical and safety implications of AI.'