Are We Ready for Artificial Intelligence?

A study of artificial intelligence and the impact on society and civilization.


The contemporary field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) research was founded in 1956. From then on, ever more sophisticated AI agents have been developed, and today Artificial Intelligence is a part of many aspects of our everyday lives. In all likelihood, human-level artificial intelligence will be achieved before the end of the 21st century, and once such a level is attained, a super intelligent system is likely to follow very quickly thereafter. Sufficiently intelligent software would be able to reprogram and improve itself, and through a process of recursive self-improvement would soon completely surpass all human capabilities. A significant concern is that such exceptional abilities might manifest in ways that pose a threat or hazard to humans. The worst-case scenario is that the AI agent might decide that it is not in its best interest to support the continued existence of humanity, and that could spell the end of homo sapiens.

A superintelligence need not necessarily be hostile, however, for situations to arise in which the machine is cooperatively pursuing its designated objective, and its actions could still result in critical harm to humanity. Clearly, the problem of control must be made a top priority, and it must be completely resolved before superintelligence is brought into existence.


David Ritchey




5.5 x 8.5


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About the Author

After being educated in economics at Yale University, David Ritchey served five years as an officer in the U.S. Navy, including a year in Vietnam. Back in civilian life, he initially became a businessman as he had been trained but, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, he dropped out, got a divorce, moved to a remote old stone farmhouse and took up fine art photography as his vocation, winning over 60 awards during the next fifteen years.

During that period, he became fascinated with the psychology and neurology of both creativity and metaphysics and returned to school to train as a psychotherapist. During his fifteen years of clinical practice specializing in hypnotherapy, he undertook a twelve-year project to research and write about such subjects and his first book, The H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P., was published in 2003. Writing proved to be every bit as rewarding as photography and became his primary vocation. Being an inveterate learner, he focused on non-fiction subjects, enjoying the research as much as the writing. His more than forty published works have won over 25 literary awards. His books can be found at and online book stores.

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His avocations have included scuba diving, sailing, skiing, tennis, golf, gardening, woodworking, dogs, magic, bridge, and Scrabble. He has two adult children, Harper and Mac, and one almost-adult grandchild, Brendan. He lives in historic Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and spends most of his time either writing or engaging in stimulating conversations over restaurant meals with close friends.