Monday, April 6, 2015

Sentient Technologies declines comment on dangers of emerging superintelligence


Some observers of the emerging phenomenon of superintelligence have hypothesized that investors more interested in their total returns than the future of humanity could push the development of artificial intelligence in dangerous, possibly catastrophic, directions.

Sentient Technologies has raised “$143.8 million in 5 Rounds from 3 Investors,” including Tata Communications.  You can learn more about Sentient here.  You can learn more about the return of AI and the prominence of Sentient here.

Here’s how Crunchbase describes Sentient:

“Sentient has created the largest and most powerful intelligent system in the world to transform how businesses tackle complex problems.”

Business Insider, on February 23, 2015, rhetorically asks, “Who's set to make money from the coming artificial intelligence boom?” and answers by announcing that “Artificial intelligence is about to take off in a big way,” and specifically mentions  “AI startups who have received substantial amounts of funding, including Rethink Robotics ($127 million) and Sentient Technologies ($144 million) here. . 

Realizing that Sentient was therefore on the cutting edge of emerging start-ups moving the state-of-the-art in artificial intelligence forward into previously-uncharted areas of scope and power in the fields of data mining and predictive analytics using massive numbers of computing cores, this reporter wrote to Zeno Group, Sentient’s PR agency, asking:

“I especially want to know how the principals at the company feel about the issues being raised by Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Steve Wozniak (not to mention Nick Bostrom, whose book Superintelligence:  Paths, Dangers,Strategies helped raise these issues) about the possible downsides of creating super-powerful artificial intelligence of the type being pioneered by Sentient.  Any comments about this, or access to spokespeople who can discuss these issues, would be greatly appreciated.”

The publicist at Zeno Group responded relatively promptly, giving this answer to what might be the most significant question ever to face the computer industry and humanity in general:

“Thanks for sharing this with us. Sorry we can’t help as Sentient does not have any additional commentary to share. We do appreciate you reaching out to us.”

So, for now, we will have to remain in the dark about how the possible progenitors of a powerful artificial intelligence feel about the possible threat to mankind presented by their systems, or the follow-on systems of those they are creating today. 

Should there be a Federal Robots Commission to regulate what these developers are not even willing to talk about to the media?

1 comment:

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