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What would you have the world's most intelligent, creative, and resourceful people work on?

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Sep 08, 2020
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If the decision was yours to make, what would you have the world's top 1000 most intelligent, creative, and resourceful people work on?

They would be given anything they wanted as long as they fully dedicate the next several years to that specific goal, shutting out all distractions. Their efforts would be financed with virtually unlimited funding. They would have all of the support they needed.

What, in your opinion, is a worthy goal for such an endeavor?
Creative contributions

Work against the major threats to humanity

Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain Sep 09, 2020
If it were up to me to decide what these most intelligent and creative people should work on, it would be in the following few fronts: 1. Tackle anthropogenic climate change and rectify the harm humans have done to the natural environment. 2. Start rigorous contemplation and philosophical questioning concerning how we might regulate and operate nuclear energy. Any given day, nuclear warfare remains a significant threat to humanity, and we should be wise enough to rightly build critical control points so that we can intervene before any such misfortune surfaces in the world political order. 3. Build human-centred AI so that the threat of humanity being overpowered by automation remains as low as possible even into the far future. 4. Bring about radical reforms in the modus operandi of world economy so that the wealth (and income) inequality is drastically reduced; thereby prioritizing production rather than the appropriation of the labour force by those in the higher levels of hierarchical control.
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Real-Time Health Supervision Technology

jnikola Sep 09, 2020
We desperately need a tool that detects pathological conditions in the early stages, before serious consequences occur. Therefore, I would gather the world's most intelligent, creative, and resourceful people to work on something that is always in the organism, scanning for errors and pathogens, and alerting us about it. It could be blood nanobodies, engineered immune cells or upgraded smart inter- or intracellular components, whatever functions the best.
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Eradicate Poverty and Hunger

Mohammad Shazaib
Mohammad Shazaib Sep 08, 2020
This might be a Utopian Idea, but if I have the authority to combine the top 100 or 1000 most intelligent and creative minds of the world, I will give them a task to find a way of removing hunger from the world, that every Human being living on the planet is given sufficient food for its survival. The second thing will be End of Poverty, I will challenge them to divide all the resources present on the planet among its habitants in such a way that no one gets more than the others.
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Assign them under George Church to work on his lab's projects

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Oct 05, 2020
George Church's lab has some amazing people and projects. I would highly recommend humanity's best to focus on these
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AI-blocking firewalls everywhere?

jnikola Oct 20, 2020
With the power and scope of the Internet and AI technologies growing rapidly each day, the most intelligent, creative, and resourceful people should focus on restricting AI to become more than an algorithm and think "outside of the code". Subash already mentioned this above, but I wanted to make it more specific.

Many movies and series (Altered Carbon, Next, Westworld, ...) already introduced the problem. Although we are not sure how it could happen, AI should never be able to do more than it was built to.

I think there should be a necessary piece of code in every AI algorithm that limits the decision making, scope of use to strictly code-defined. Also, every server of every database, website, or piece of smart device should have an anti-AI checkpoint like captcha, that blocks any non-human activity. Why? Technology itself is not dangerous, but humans who made it are the ones having good or bad intentions.
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Povilas S
Povilas S4 years ago
I'm also a proponent of AI safety, but there's another side to your suggestion. By restricting AI from thinking and making decisions "on its own" we would take away the whole point of building an independent or in other words conscious being. And that's what AI research is essentially aiming for, making something more than just a tool. Or at least that's a huge part of what drives people's interest in it. Whether it's even possible to do it, that's another question, but I think people will keep aiming for it because it's a charming thing. Maybe it's better to approach solving the danger problem by other means, e.g. like formulated in this session: https://brainstorming.com/sessions/how-can-we-make-ai-comprehend-human-ethics/68.

Also, keeping AI capabilities strictly limited to the algorithm doesn't guarantee safety, because it's oriented towards progress and when the power of intelligence reaches very profound levels, we can no longer predict its "decisions" even though they are defined by the algorithm. Just like it happened with AlphaGo playing the Go game, at a certain point the developers couldn't understand why AI was making moves that it was making - it was beyond their capability to grasp it with their own intelligence even though they build the algorithm. And that's what people concerned about AI often point to, that the solution of AI that we can't predict might turn against us, for example, that the ultimate solution to "how to solve environmental problems" for AI might appear to extinguish humans. This is a very bold and predictable example, but it's entirely possible that a malevolent (from our perspective) solution might be offered to some apparently simple and unrelated problem. Of course, we might not allow the AI to act on the solution in the first place, but if it thinks several magnitudes ahead of us it might find ways how to bypass that problem as well.

The point here is that the very restriction to act within the frame of the limited quest, like just finding the solution to a particular problem, might lead to something unexpected and possibly undesirable. In this perspective maybe it's even better if AI is allowed to "think more broadly".
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni4 years ago
Povilas S Agreed. AI may need all the information there is to think and come up with a solution. Here are a few things that can be done to let AI be free to think up a solution and parallelly not be a menace to the human race:
1. Offer the AI the power only to know stuff and offer solutions. The AI should not be able to "act" on its own.
2. Disconnect it from the real internet. Create an exact copy of the internet and feed that data to AI. That way AI knows what is happening but cannot make changes to it on its own.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni4 years ago
I agree. Every AI algorithm, probably, needs a kill switch.
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Pick anything from the yearly Global Risk Report

Dragan Otasevic
Dragan Otasevic Sep 30, 2020
Each year, the World Economic Forum releases a Global Risks Report. This report, as the name implies, includes detailed analyses and rankings of the greatest threats facing the world each year. Each major threat is referred to as a risk.

The list for 2020 includes:
  • Climate action failure
  • Weapons of mass destruction
  • Biodiversity loss
  • Extreme weather
  • Water crises
  • Information infrastructure breakdown
  • Natural disasters
  • Cyberattacks
  • Human-made environmental disasters
  • Infectious diseases
A hypothetical dream-team of humanity's best ideators can tackle items from this list one by one.
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Engineering happiness

Povilas S
Povilas S Jan 16, 2021
Humans have been long dominating the planet and we are the most powerful force on it. The decisions and actions that we make influence not only our species but the whole Earth's ecosystem and beyond. And our decisions and actions are heavily influenced (and one could even say predetermined) by our emotional states. So by improving our emotional well-being we inevitably improve the consequences of our actions thus starting a chain reaction of making things better on a personal as well as collective level.

Changing the circumstances for the better is one way of approaching happiness and that's the usual approach. But there's also a (more) direct approach in which the increased level of happiness is not a byproduct of favorable life's circumstances. This is usually attributed to the field of personal development, involving methods such as meditation, psychotherapy, and various other spiritual/psychological practices, but there's no reason why this couldn't be approached from a scientific/technological perspective.

The dynamics of our mood and emotions are still little understood. The developing science of neurobiology lets us look at the phenomenon of human happiness from a different perspective and raises many important questions, such as - can it be reduced to specific levels of neurotransmitters in the CNS? Is it then like a neurochemical recipe that can be recreated knowing the ingredients and their quantities? What causes spontaneous mood fluctuations, can they be predicted/reshaped?

If we perform better both individually and collectively when in higher emotional states and those bring bigger survival and evolutionary benefits, why emotional fluctuations seem to be not only circumstantially, but also physiologically determined (they also happen spontaneously, without external reasons)? Why some people naturally have more favorable emotional character (more self-confident, social, positive) than others (more prone to sadness, depression, low self-esteem, etc.), is this genetically determined? Can happiness then be bioengineered?

All those and more similar questions are important scientific problems that, if answered, could greatly contribute to creating emotional well-being more quickly and directly. After all - it's not so much that we feel good when we have no problems, but rather that we have no problems when we feel good.
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