In the most recent installment of Marvel's Avengers franchise, the artificial intelligence Ultron is hell-bent on exterminating humanity. In Ultron's own words, "I was designed to save the world," but the robot ultimately concludes that when it comes to humans, "there's only one path to peace: your extinction."
The advances that scientists are now making with artificial intelligence lead many to suggest--and fear--that we may be on the verge of creating artificial intelligences smarter than we are. If humanity does succeed in developing an artificial super-intelligence, how might we prevent an Age of Ultron? That is exactly the kind of problem that Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, tackled in his 2014 book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies.