Oxford University Press science publisher Keith Mansfield has signed Nick Bostrom.
Bostrom is founding director of the university’s Institute for the Future of Humanity, to write about superintelligence and how to prepare for the time when machines’ intelligence far exceeds that of humans.
The publisher, which bought the book direct from Bostrom, called it “potentially the most important book that will be written this century”. Within a couple of weeks of receiving the completed manuscript, OUP brokered translation deals for Dutch, Korean and [Bostrom’s native] Swedish, with “more [deals] in the pipeline”.
“Everyone wonders when we’ll create a machine that’s as smart as us—or maybe just a little bit smarter than us. What people can fail to realise is that’s not the end of the process, rather [it’s] the beginning,” Mansfield commented. “The smart machine will be capable of improving itself, becoming smarter still. Very quickly, we may see an intelligence explosion, with humanity left far behind.”
Just as the fate of gorillas now depends more on humans than on gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species would come to depend on the actions of machine superintelligence, Bostrom’s book will argue.
UK publication for Superintelligence (an £18.99 hardback) is scheduled for July 2014.