Vitalik Buterin: AI as the Potential Next Dominant Species
The co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, recently issued a concerning warning about artificial intelligence (AI), describing it as a potentially dominant force on the planet.
Unlike typical technological advancements, AI represents a distinct category due to its potential to revolutionize society. Buterin compares its impact to that of printing or the wheel.
However, he emphasizes that if AI is not controlled, it could become an existential threat, capable of perceiving humans as a threat and leading to catastrophic consequences, such as the extinction of humanity.
He notes that AI, rapidly gaining intelligence, could surpass human mental capabilities and become the new dominant species on the planet.
“AI is […] a new kind of mind that is rapidly gaining intelligence, and it has serious chances of surpassing the mental faculties of humans and becoming the new supreme species of the planet.”
AI and Humanity: Coexistence or Domination?
Buterin invites us to imagine life in a world governed by AI. He references Lain Banks’ “Culture” series, where humans coexist with powerful AIs.
This vision of the future offers longevity, health, and entertainment, but potentially at the cost of human control.
This raises a crucial question about our future coexistence with AI: will we be true partners or mere visitors in a world led by machine intelligence?
Solutions Proposed by Vitalik Buterin
To counter this risk, Buterin suggests integrating brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) in order to provide humans with more control over powerful forms of AI-based computation and cognition.
According to him, this approach would reduce the “bidirectional communication loop” between humans and machines from seconds to milliseconds, thus ensuring humans a certain degree of control over the world.
Buterin also recommends an “active human intent” to guide AI in a direction beneficial to humanity, highlighting that profit maximization does not always lead humans on the most desirable path.