Date Posted: 1/08/2016

Bart Selman was quoted by The New Yorker for an long, AI-celebrity-filled, fun-quip-laden article "The doomsday invention: Will artificial intelligence bring us utopia or destruction?"

The magazine reached out to Selman in part because of his role as co-organizer, with Eric Horvitz of Microsoft,of the 2009 Asilomar Meeting on Long-term AI Futures, a AAAI Presidential Panel.  (Asilomar was "chosen for its symbolic value: biologists had gathered there in 1975 to discuss the hazards of their research in the age of modern genetics.")  "The group concluded that more technical work was needed before an evaluation of the dangers could be made, but it also hinted at a concern among panelists that the gathering was based on “a perception of urgency”—--generated largely by the transhumanists—--and risked raising unfounded alarm. With A.I. seeming like a remote prospect, the researchers declared, attention was better spent on near-term concerns. [Selman said to the article's author:] “The mode was ‘This is interesting, but it’s all academic—it’s not going to happen.’ ”