My thoughts on some of the TED-Ed open questions:
Do you think we should build von Neumann Machines if we have the necessary capabilities?
I just read the “Lungfish” story that describes the possible Von Neumann machines orbiting Earth who discuss the fate and future of the human race. These differing machines (from different civilizations) have also witnessed a Great War and the machines lie dormant awaiting either the possible contact with humans they are watching or hear from other civilizations to see if the war has ended and if so, who won the war between the Loyalists and Rebels.
But I think we should consider it, if we make sure the machines know not to gobble up everything in their path.
What mechanisms could be installed in the machines so that they do not go out of control?
A rule or knowledge that allows the machines to understand the consequences of over self-replication by knowing how to balance self-replication and required resources.
But for a true AI, I think we should think of them as a new step in human evolution as we have created an immortal race of mechanized humans. From our knowledge and experience, they will become a child of our civilization.
Do you think we’ll ever encounter alien von Neumann Machines? If not – why?
According to the Youtube video, Von Neumann Machines either are already waiting for Earth to reach a milestone in civilization development to announce their presence or perhaps, civilizations might have become extinct before launching their own machines.
I think we’ll encounter them along the way. Maybe, we’re inhabiting the “Lungfish” version of the universe where the machines are waiting for just the right time to greet us, warn us, protect us rather than trying to end us.