Playfully Uncovering AI’s Serious Novelty

Advanced AI systems exhibit behaviors that surprise even their creators. To embrace and prepare for the associated risks and opportunities, we must search out novel perspectives beyond the dominant ‘doomer’-optimist dichotomy. One approach is open-minded experimentation with AI rather than rushing to conclusions developed for technologies of the past, says Sylvan Rackham, Research Fellow at ToftH and recent University of Cambridge MPhil Technology Policy graduate. A photographic rendering of a succulent plant seen through a refractive glass grid, overlaid with a diagram of a neural network. Image by Alan Warburton / Better Images of AI / CC-BY 4.0 AI is receiving a lot of hype right now, with many opinions about potential applications, risks and viability. There is often a bubble-like quality to these opinions with some being repetitive, inflammatory or (perhaps purposefully) misinterpreting features of AI’s development – some manage to do all three. This occurs on both sides of the debate and seems to draw discourse towards a cocktail of the loudest pundits’ most shocking dystopian or utopian sci-fi analogies and away from what I believe is a more stable, considered and inclusive development of AI. A lot can be learned from reading the words of loud pundits, not least that they give perspectives of the opposing camp that neither can articulate about themselves. There is one critique of ‘doomers’ from venture capitalist Marc Andreesen’s latest post which I think is actually more usefully applied to both sides – many of the extreme scenarios we hear are simply…Playfully Uncovering AI’s Serious Novelty