Programming ethics into artificial intelligence

First off, why does artificial intelligence belong in a blog about environmental philosophy?

Because we live in a technological environment.  Stop and consider what your environment consists of.  If you’re reading this blog, it consists of very recent and very advanced technologies.

Even the Ohlone Indians who inhabited Silicon Valley before the arrival of Europeans were living in a technological environment, though much different from ours.

Changes in technology = changes in environment.  Not just changes to the environment, but changes in the environment.  So when machines become smarter than humans, when “supertintelligence” arrives, our environment will be radically altered.  Superintelligence will exist “out there,” an abstract presence that is felt, like the internet, or the climate.

Now here’s the interesting thing.  We would need to program the superintelligent machine to behave ethically, but how can we be sure that our knowledge of ethics is sufficient?

Continue reading