The spectre of superintelligent machines doing us harm is not just science fiction, technologists say – so how can we ensure AI remains ‘friendly’ to its makers? By Mara Hvistendahl

It began three and a half billion years ago in a pool of muck, when a molecule made a copy of itself and so became the ultimate ancestor of all earthly life. It began four million years ago, when brain volumes began climbing rapidly in the hominid line.

Fifty thousand years ago with the rise of Homo sapiens sapiens.

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