The discussion about existential risk from superintelligent AI is back, seemingly awakened by the recent dramatic progress in large language models such as GPT-4. The basic argument...
The discussion about existential risk from superintelligent AI is back, seemingly awakened by the recent dramatic progress in large language models such as GPT-4. The basic argument goes something like this: at some point, some AI system will be smarter than any human, and because it is smarter than its human creators it will be able to improve itself to be even smarter. It will then proceed to take over the world, and because it doesn't really care for us it might just exterminate all humans along the way. Oops.
Now I want you to consider the following proposal: Elden Ring, the video game, is an equally serious existential threat to humanity. Elden Ring is the best video game of 2022, according to me and many others. As such, millions of people have it installed on their computers or game consoles. It's a massive piece of software, around 50 gigabytes, and it's certainly complex enough that nobody understands entirely how it works. (Video games have become exponentially larger and more complex over time.) By default it has read and write access to your hard drive and can communicate with the internet; in fact, the game prominently features messages left between players and players "invading" each other. The game is chock-full of violence, and it seems to want to punish its players (it even makes us enjoy being punished by it). Some of the game's main themes are civilizational collapse and vengeful deities. Would it not be reasonable to be worried that this game would take over the world, maybe spreading from computer to computer and improving itself, and then killing all humans? Many of the game's characters would be perfectly happy to kill all humans, often for obscure reasons.