AI SciFi — Physicist and AI Expert David Brin on ChatGPT and Whether AI Poses an Existential Threat

Shermer and Brin discuss: AI and AGI • are they existential threats? • the alignment problem • Large Language Models • ChatGPT, GPT-4, GPT-5, and beyond • the Future of Life Institute’s Open Letter calling for a pause on “giant AI experiments” • Asilomar AI principles • Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Time OpEd: “Shut it All Down” • laws and ethics.

David Brin earned a Bachelor’s degree in astronomy from Caltech, a Master’s in electrical engineering from UC San Diego, and a PhD in astronomy from UC San Diego. From 1983 to 1986 he was a postdoc research fellow at the California Space Institute at UC San Diego, where he also helped establish the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. An advisor to NASA’s Innovative & Advanced Concepts program, David appears frequently on shows such as Nova, The Universe and Life After People, speaking about science and future trends. His first non-fiction book, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Make Us Choose Between Freedom and Privacy?, won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association. His second nonfiction book is Vivid Tomorrows: Science Fiction and Hollywood. He is best known for his science fiction, for which he has won numerous major awards, including the Hugo, Locus, Campbell, and Nebula Awards. His novel The Postman was adapted into a feature film starring Kevin Costner. He even has a minor planet named after him: 5748 Davebrin. He has written a number of articles on Artificial Intelligence, most recently in response to the call for a moratorium on AI research by many leading AI researchers and scientists, which he titled “The Only Way Out of the AI Dilemma.” His website is

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