What are the ideas driving the pursuit of human-level AI? In the penultimate episode of this Tech Tonic series, hosts Madhumita Murgia and John Thornhill look at some of the futuristic objectives that are at the centre of the AI industry’s quest for superintelligence and hear about the Extropians, a surprisingly influential group of futurists from the early 1990s. Anders Sandberg, senior research fellow at Oxford university's Future of Humanity Institute, sets out some of the ideas developed in the Extropians mailing list while Connor Leahy, co-founder of Conjecture and Timnit Gebru, founder of the Distributed AI Research Institute (DAIR) explain why they worry about the Extropians’ continued influence today.

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Tech Tonic is presented by Madhumita Murgia and John Thornhill. Senior producer is Edwin Lane and the producer is Josh Gabert-Doyon. Executive producer is Manuela Saragosa. Sound design by Breen Turner and Samantha Giovinco. Original music by Metaphor Music. The FT’s head of audio is Cheryl Brumley.

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Read a transcript of this episode on FT.com

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