CNBC: How Britain’s oldest universities are trying to protect humanity from risky A.I.

26 May 2020
by Sam Shead

CNBC wrote a profile of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence and the Future of Humanity Institute.

Oxford and Cambridge, the oldest universities in Britain and two of the oldest in the world, are keeping a watchful eye on the buzzy field of artificial intelligence (AI), which has been hailed as a technology that will bring about a new industrial revolution and change the world as we know it.

Researchers at the Center for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) are assessing biological weapons, pandemics, and, of course, AI. 

“We try to look at both the positives and negatives of the technology because our real aim is making the world more secure,” says Seán ÓhÉigeartaigh, co-director at CSER. ÓhÉigeartaigh, who holds a PhD in genomics from Trinity College Dublin, says CSER currently has three joint projects on the go with FHI. 

“By bringing together people who think about these things from different angles, we’re able to figure out what might be properly plausible scenarios that are worth trying to mitigate against,” said ÓhÉigeartaigh. 

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