Mustafa Suleyman is the ultimate AI insider. As co-founder of DeepMind and Inflection AI, he is one of the pioneers of the artificial intelligence revolution, potentially the single greatest accelerant of progress in history. Investors in Inflection AI include the likes of Microsoft, Nvidia and Bill Gates. Suleyman says AI represents nothing less than a step change in human capability and human society, introducing both risks and innovations on an awesome scale. This is what is coming.
In September 2023 Suleyman came to the Intelligence Squared stage to discuss his new book The Coming Wave: Technology, Power and the Twenty-First Century’s Greatest Dilemma. In conversation with Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief of The Economist, he explained how he believes we are approaching a critical threshold in the history of humankind. Soon we will live surrounded by AIs which will carry out complex tasks – operating businesses, running government services and maintaining infrastructure. This will be a world of DNA printers and quantum computers, robot assistants and abundant energy, as well as human-engineered pathogens and autonomous weapons.
We are not prepared, Suleyman argued.
While these tools hold the promise of solving global problems and generating immense wealth, they also bring the risk of upheaval on a scale we can barely imagine. Suleyman explored how these forces threaten the very foundations of the nation state and the global order. And he argued that we face an existential dilemma: on the one side lie unprecedented harms arising from unchecked and unregulated AI, and on the other, the threat of overbearing surveillance from the state. Can our governments forge a narrow path between too much openness and too much control? Or are we sleepwalking into disaster?
Suleyman grappled with ‘the containment problem’ – the task of maintaining control over artificial intelligence and other powerful technologies – the ultimate challenge of our times.
Presented in partnership with Penguin