An oracle artificial intelligence, often abbreviated OAI, is a form of artificial general intelligence which does not have complex goals or the power to enact solutions, but simply responds to questions that are asked of it.

This is a common answer to the problem of boxing AI -- that is, how do we ensure that an entity that is much smarter than us does not do things that we do not understand and do not want? Creating an AI that shares our goals is very hard, but creating an AI that has only the goal of answering questions should be much easier.

Proposed features of oracle AIs usually include the ability to shut it down when not in use, the ability to easily reset it to an initial state, and the built-in instruction to stop working as soon as the desired answer is found. Even so, there is the possibility of risk; for example, an AI whose only goal is to tell us how to cure cancer does not necessarily know that we are absolutely not looking for a course of gene therapy that infects the entire population, reformatting all genes to match an idealized (cancer free!) human genotype.

Areas of potential disaster are more common in the extremes of medicine, physics, and technology, which is exactly the areas where an oracle AI is useful. Likewise, in many cases, it will be the answers that we cannot fully understand that are most useful to us. Including some safety to make sure complex solutions follow human values in their execution and consequences remains a serious problem even with the Oracle AIs.

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