Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People

A skeptical view on the seductive, apocalyptic beliefs that prevent people in tech from really working to make a difference.

Apocalyptic ideas have traditionally been the province of religion, but nerds have found a way to import them into the world of computer programming. These ideas are a cognitive hazard that preferentially infects smart people, making them useless for more practical work. Like other forms of religious obsession, fantasies of superintelligence prevent us from tackling problems in this life by convincing us to focus on the life to come. This talk is an attempt to vaccinate the next generation of developers against the seductive ideas of existential risk, superintelligence, and the charismatic religious figures who will try to eat their brains.

Skill level: Elementary
Duration: 45 min
Photo of Maciej Ceglowski
Maciej Ceglowski

Maciej Ceglowski runs Pinboard, an Internet bookmarking site, and has been an outspoken critic of Silicon Valley culture, surveillance capitalism, and a proponent of more democratic control of the technology that runs our lives.

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