Hugo de Garis (born 1947, Sydney, Australia) is a researcher in the sub-field of artificial intelligence (AI) known as evolvable hardware. He became known in the 1990s for his research on the use of genetic algorithms to evolve neural networks using three dimensional cellular automata inside field programmable gate arrays. He claimed that this approach would enable the creation of what he terms "artificial brains" which would quickly surpass human levels of intelligence.
He has more recently been noted for his belief that a major war between the supporters and opponents of intelligent machines, resulting in billions of deaths, is almost inevitable before the end of the 21st century. He suggests AIs may simply eliminate the human race, and humans would be powerless to stop them because of technological singularity. This prediction has attracted debate and criticism from the AI research community, and some of its more notable members, such as Kevin Warwick, Bill Joy, Ken MacLeod, Ray Kurzweil, Hans Moravec, and Roger Penrose, have voiced their opinions on whether or not this future is likely.
de Garis originally studied theoretical physics, but he abandoned this field in favour of artificial intelligence. In 1992 he received his PhD from Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. He worked as a researcher at ATR (Advanced Telecommunications Research institute international, 国際電気通信基礎技術研究所), Japan from 1994–2000, a researcher at Starlab, Brussels from 2000–2001, and associate professor of computer science at Utah State University from 2001–2006. Until his retirement in late 2010 he was a professor at Xiamen University, where he taught theoretical physics and computer science, and ran the Artificial Brain lab.
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“Full of ennuithat is to say, empty.”
—Victor Hugo (18021885)