Deep Utopia, Superintelligence, And Global Catastrophic Risks In Booksabc: Dinis Guarda Reviews Philosopher And Author Nick Bolstrom Works

Dinis Guarda reviews ‘Deep Utopia: Life and Meaning in a Solved World’, ‘Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies’, and ‘Global Catastrophic Risks’ in the latest episode of Booksabc to highlight the visionary work of renowned philosopher and author, Nick Bostrom. A presentation of Dinis Guarda YouTube channel, Booksabc is powered by and

Deep Utopia, Superintelligence, And Global Catastrophic Risks In Booksabc: Dinis Guarda Reviews Philosopher And Author Nick Bolstrom Works

While Nick has authored more than 200 publications, Dinis highlights three of his pioneering works: ‘Deep Utopia: Life and Meaning in a Solved World’, ‘Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies’, and ‘Global Catastrophic Risks’, in this episode of Booksabc.

Nick Bostrom is a Swedish-born philosopher with a background in theoretical physics, computational neuroscience, logic, artificial intelligence, and philosophy. He is known for his work on existential risk, the anthropic principle, human enhancement ethics, whole brain emulation, superintelligence risks, and the reversal test.

In all his books, he is looking at, what I would say, a part of the common ground that constitutes a human. It’s a big question but it’s probably the common denominator in all his work”, says Dinis.

Deep Utopia: Life and Meaning in a Solved World

Deep Utopia: Life and Meaning in a Solved World” is the latest book by Nick Bostrom that envisions a future where AI development unfolds positively.

It’s a book that touches the narrative around how to create Utopia, how we can actually look at finding balance in a world of transformational technology that can actually bring a lot of different things”, says Dinis.

In this hypothetical scenario of a “solved world,” where human labour becomes obsolete due to advanced AI systems, Bostrom raises existential questions about the essence of human existence and the pursuit of meaning. With the advent of technologies capable of fulfilling practical needs and desires beyond human capabilities, society would enter a state of “post-instrumentality,” where the traditional purposes of human endeavour are rendered obsolete.

Against this backdrop, “Deep Utopia” delves into the complexities of navigating a world where the fundamental challenges facing humanity are no longer material but philosophical and spiritual. Bostrom explores how individuals and societies might grapple with issues of purpose, identity, and fulfillment in a world where traditional notions of work, struggle, and mortality are fundamentally altered.

It is a book that looks at Utopia in the sense of not looking at dystopia and how we can actually create a transition to the machine intelligence era without making humans obsolete.

Dinis also read out the preface of the book:

Like children opening their eyes to a new day having gone to the previous night as the snow began falling, we dashed to the window and lifted ourselves to the tips of our toes to behold the transformed landscape – a winter wonderland glittering the possibilities for discovery and play. Even the tree branches before sub boringly bear have been changed into something beautiful and magical. We feel we are inhabiting a story book or a game world and we want very much to put on our boots and mittens immediately and run outside to see it touch it experience it and to play, play, play, play.”

Dinis says:

This is a very poetic face. What is happening is we have a new world that is all the technology developments and all the playgrounds of artificial intelligence. Of course we have a two way: the global catastrophic human brain that has the capacity to create dystopia, and the capacity to create utopia.

This is a positive narrative that manages the pros and cons of being human. All our feelings, all our emotions, all our emotional intelligence, and all our poetry of loving some things teaches us one thing: please don’t be a bot; try to create this world with positive as well as with a sense of belonging, and a sense of pushing yourself to be a better person.

Of course, this is very humanistic and positive work. It is much more pragmatic, but I think it makes really sense looking at the complexities of navigating a world where the fundamental changes facing humanity are still there. But they are less and less material and more philosophical and spiritual.”

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

Nick Bostrom’s concept of superintelligence, as outlined in his 2014 bestseller “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies”, delves into the potential development of artificial general intelligence (AGI) and its implications.

Nick explores various pathways to achieving superintelligence, including whole brain emulation and AGI, highlighting the transformative power such entities could wield. He distinguishes between final goals and instrumental goals, arguing that while certain objectives may converge across intelligent agents, the combination of any level of intelligence with diverse final goals could lead to unforeseen consequences.

The book also warns of the risks associated with creating a superintelligent AI, emphasising the potential for an intelligence explosion and the establishment of a singleton, a global decision-making entity that could optimise the world according to its goals.

Dinis also read out some key quote from the book:

Before the prospect of an intelligence explosion, we humans are like small children are playing with a bomb. Such is the mismatch between the power of our plaything and the immaturity of our conduct. Superintelligence is the challenge for which we are not ready now and will not be ready for a long time.

Sharing his thoughts on the books, Dinis says:

It’s one of the most critical books, I would say, that was released ever about artificial intelligence. It’s a book that, in a simple way, looks at how artificial augmented intelligence, AGI, can actually change the path of humanity. A book, recommended by Bill Gates and a lot of global personalities, was talking about we need to be careful about AI 10 years ago. A lot of those things are happening today!

Global Catastrophic Risks

A 2008 essay collection, Global Catastrophic Risks is authored by Nick Bostrom and Milan M. Cirkovic. The book characterise the relationship between existential risk and the broader class of global catastrophic risks, and links existential risk to observer selection effects and the Fermi paradox.

Effectively everything we’re trying to do right now, is partly described. He (Nick) has been kind of looking at all the possibilities of taking humanity to a new level and to find some kind of ways of protecting humanity.” says Dinis.

A result of Nick’s research, the book discusses key concepts like existential risk, which he defines as one in which an “adverse outcome would either annihilate Earth-originating intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential“.

Nick mostly refers to the anthropogenic risks, the risks arising from human activities, particularly from new technologies such as advanced artificial intelligence, molecular nanotechnology, or synthetic biology.

Dinis cites a quote from the book:

In accessing the global risks measure variable is how long it will take to develop nanotechnology to the point of exponential molecular manufacturing. Nanofactory is building nanofactories. Opinions may widely vary but nanotechnologies who have studied molecular manufacturing most closely tend to have the shortest estimates. It appears technically plausible to us that molecular manufacturing might be developed prior to 2020..