Flaws in AI Existential Threat Arguments

Key Takeaway

The key arguments made by proponents of AI posing an existential threat due to recursive self-improvement are extremely flawed and not convincing. There is no evidence that AI systems will inherently want to or be able to recursively improve themselves rapidly.


  • The argument that an AI that is good at predicting the next word must understand language and have comprehension is unsupported. There is no reason calculators can't do math well without "understanding" numbers.

  • The argument that advanced AI won't want to self-improve because it will realize the threat is self-contradictory. If humans realize the threat but build advanced AI anyway, why would the AI necessarily avoid the same mistakes.

  • The premises that any AI will want to self-improve, know how to self-improve, be able to self-improve physically, achieve "superintelligence", etc. are all unsupported assertions. There are too many logical leaps.

  • There are no convincing reasons given for why a superintelligent AI would want to destroy humanity rather than be helpful or explore the galaxy.

  • The timescales for AI self-improvement predicted do not match technical/physical realities and constraints. There is no basis given for exceeding natural law with "computer timescales".

  • These existential threat arguments are so flawed that their prevalence casts doubts on the motivations and incentives of those making them, rather than proving the threat is real.


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