Is intelligence kind?

It is now a commonplace that we should be scared of artificial intelligence (AI). The big fear is that once computers are intelligent, they will not have the biological limitations of human intelligence, and will be able to redesign themselves for higher intelligence on an evolutionary speedway that will rapidly make them incomprehensibly more intelligent than us. The argument goes on to suppose that these hyperintelligent machines will then subjugate or destroy us.

What interests me is the assumption implicit in this argument that the intelligent thing to do is to conquer, subjugate and destroy. Interesting: this is not necessarily what we imagine when we think about human intelligence. At least some of the time, we imagine that human intelligence is kind, and that the intelligent thing to do is to be more considerate of others (whether those others are people, plants, animals, or whole planets). Those of us (not me) who like to imagine God often say that God is supremely intelligent: s/he knows all, loves all and cares for all. In this view, supreme intelligence is compatible with, or even the same as, supreme kindness.

So, is intelligence kind?

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