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Will AI Eat the World? An Interview with Calum Chace

Calum Chace is a highly acclaimed author, international authority on artificial intelligence (AI), and an experienced business executive. Artificial intelligence is already here, and in this short interview, Calum touches on the potential implications and threats humanity may face as AI evolves, and how we, as humans, should pay attention to trends and developments in AI to make sure that we’re shaping a positive future for humanity.

What is the focus of your chapter in The Future of Business?

My chapter, “Will AI Eat the World?” starts by pointing out that artificial intelligence is already ubiquitous. It is improving at an exponential rate, and it is changing the world. It has brought great benefits, and it promises to bring even more in the future. But it also brings perils. In the short and medium term there is the prospect of technological unemployment. In the longer term the arrival of artificial general intelligence (machines with cognition at human level or above in all areas – and volition) is one of the few genuinely existential threats facing mankind.

We don’t yet know how AI will evolve, and how it will impact us. My claim is that the future is not predestined, and we can determine whether we obtain the astonishing benefits or suffer the appalling downsides. Making predictions is difficult, especially about the future, but we really have no choice. We need to pay close attention to the trends, understand where they are taking us, and harness our talent and our ingenuity to influence the outcome.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

I have been a journalist, a marketer, a strategy consultant and an entrepreneurial CEO. Now I am principally a writer, mostly about artificial intelligence. This year I published a novel, Pandora’s Brain about the first conscious machine, and Surviving AI, a non-fiction review. I also chair growing companies and coach entrepreneurs.

What future-oriented topics or issues are you focusing on currently?

I’m working on The Economic Singularity, a book about the possibility of technological unemployment and the impact that will have. I also need to find the time to work on the draft of a sequel to Pandora’s Brain, provisionally titled Pandora’s Oracle.

If you could bring about one change in the world to ensure a positive future – what would it be?

I would like to see a consensus emerging that the existing and potential benefits of artificial intelligences are huge, but that we can only enjoy them if we take the challenges seriously, and that we need to start addressing those challenges today.


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