FHI Technical Report: MDL Intelligence Distillation by Eric Drexler

In a newly published FHI Technical Report, “MDL Intelligence Distillation: Exploring strategies for safe access to superintelligent problem-solving capabilities”, Eric Drexler explores a general approach to separating learning capacity from domain knowledge, and then using controlled input and retention of specialised domain knowledge to focus and implicitly constrain the capabilities of domain-specific superintelligent problem solvers.

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Now Hiring Postdoctoral Researchers

Applications are invited for a full-time Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Artificial Intelligence (AI) safety within the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) at Oxford University. This post is fixed-term for 2 years from the date of appointment. Continue reading

Research on Moral Trade

FHI researcher Toby Ord has published recent research on moral trade in Ethics. Differing ethical viewpoints can allow for moral trade, arrangements that improve the state of affairs from all involved viewpoints. Continue reading

2014 Thesis Prize Competition – Results

The Future of Humanity Institute is pleased to announce the results for the 2014 Thesis Prize Competition: Crucial Considerations for the Future of Humanity.

Entrants submitted a two-page ‘thesis proposal’ consisting of a 300 word abstract and an outline plan of a thesis on crucial considerations for humanity’s future. Professor Nick Bostrom, Dr Toby Ord and Dr Cecilia Tilli have reviewed all submitted entries.

We received many strong proposals for the competition; given the similar quality of several entries we have decided to leave the top prize vacant and distribute the prize money among runner-ups and honorary mentions.

Thank you to all contestants for participating!




“Background Conditions for Human-Existential Risk Control”
Louis Fletcher, University of Cambridge

“Public Reason and Existential Catastrophe: Crucial Considerations for Justice as Fairness”
Patrick Kaczmarek, University of Glasgow

“Survival, Extinction and the Future of Humanity”
Henry Shevlin, CUNY Graduate Center

Honorary Mention

“Increasing Compassion to Reduce Existential Risk: A Global Initiative”
Luke Greeley, Rutgers University

“Empathy and its Limits”
Adam Lerner, Princeton University

“Why Moral Optimists Should Be Pessimistic About Artificial General Intelligence”
Amanda MacAskill, New York University

“Producing Dumb Animals: Crucial Considerations for Animal Diminishment”
Marcus Schultz-Bergin, Bowling Green State University

Risks and impacts of AI: conference, open letter, and new funding program

Over the weekend of January 2, much of our research staff from the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology attended The Future of AI: Opportunities and Challenges, a conference held by the Future of Life Institute to bring together AI researchers from academia and industry, AI safety researchers, lawyers, economists, and many others to discuss short and long-term issues in AI’s impact on society.

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FHI in 2014

In 2014 FHI produced over 20 publications and policy reports, and our research was the topic of over 1000 media pieces.  The highlight of the year was the publication of Superintelligence, Paths, Dangers, Strategies, which has opened a broader discussion on how to ensure our future AI systems remain safe. Continue reading