Superintelligence and Public Opinion


In which I survey the public — perhaps for the first time — about their appetite for risk and the pursuit of superintelligence.

Throughout 2017, I have been running polls on the public’s appetite for risk regarding the pursuit of superintelligence. I’ve been running these on Surveymonkey, paying for audiences so as to minimize distortions in the data. I’ve spent nearly $10,000 on this project. I did this in about the most scientific way I could. It is not a “passed around” survey, but rather paid polling across the entire American spectrum.

All in all, America can perhaps be best characterized as excited about the prospect of a superintelligence explosion, but also deeply afraid, skeptical, and adamantly opposed to the idea that we should plow forth without any regulation or plan. This is, it seems to me, exactly what is happening right now.

You can view the entire dataset here. I welcome any comments. I’m not a statistician, don’t have a research assistant, and have a full-time job, so my ability to proof-read and double-check things is limited (though I have tried). If you have comments, you can tweet at me @rickwebb.


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Ants and the Superintelligence



I’ll start with my bias — I’m very optimistic about the superintelligence.

Yesterday I gave two talks in Minneapolis. One was to an internal group of Target employees around innovation. In the other, I was interviewed by my partner Seth (for the first time), which was fun since he’s known me for 16 years and could ask unique questions given our shared experiences.

I can’t remember in which talk the superintelligence came up, but I rambled on an analogy to try to simply describe the superintelligence which I’ve come up with recently that I first saw in The AI Revolution: Our Immortality or Extinction. I woke up this morning thinking about it along with one of the questions Seth asked me where my answer left me unsatisfied.

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