Each year, EDGE.org poses an annual question to leading scientists, philosophers, and artists to tackle some of the world’s most complex issues. The responses are featured as a collection of online essays that is later published as part of a high-profile and top-selling series of books for a general audience, and the annual event draws global news coverage.
As he has for all ten of EDGE’s events, Psychology Research Professor and Professor Emeritus Robert Provine contributed to this year’s question: “What do you think about machines that think?” In his response titled “Irrational Machines and Humans,” Provine wrote that humans should not worry about future characteristics of robots and their ability to spur a future clash with their creators.
“Humans will prevail, in part through primal, often disreputable qualities that are more associated with our downfall than salvation. Cunning, deception, revenge, suspicion, and unpredictability, befuddle less flexible and imaginative entities. Intellect isn’t everything, and the irrational is not necessarily maladaptive,” wrote Provine.
He added: “There is no indication that we will have a problem keeping our machines on a leash, even if they misbehave. We are far from building teams of swaggering, unpredictable, Machiavellian robots with an attitude problem and urge to reproduce.”
To read Provine’s complete response, along with other responses from founders of AI and robotics, Nobelists, and many others, click here. For more information on Provine’s responses to the EDGE question in previous years, click here.
On Sunday, February 1, Provine is contributing to an event at Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum titled “The Human Guide to Our Creative Brain.” For more information, click here.