Does General AI Pose an Existential Threat?

General AI, also known as artificial general intelligence (AGI), refers to machines that can learn and solve problems as well or better than humans across a wide range of domains. Once developed, AGI could be extremely powerful and competent.

The creation of AGI, if not handled carefully, does pose risks according to some experts. An unaligned AGI that does not share human values and goals could cause catastrophic harm.

The development of AGI also promises tremendous benefits that could dramatically improve human life, health, wealth, freedom, and happiness. With careful, incremental research focused on safety and ethics, the risks from AGI can likely be avoided.

There are still open questions about whether AGI will have unpredictable emergent properties as it exceeds human-level intelligence in multiple domains. Continued research into AI safety and alignment is important.

The timeline to developing AGI is quite uncertain, with estimates ranging from 10 years to over a century from now. This makes it hard to assess if and when risks could emerge.

There are plausible risks from advanced AI, but an existential threat to humanity remains speculative.

With prudent governance of AI technology, the chances of catastrophically dangerous AGI can be reduced. The technology still holds enormous promise if handled responsibly.