Most of people knowing a bit about AI know the concept of paper-clipper, an AI that was meant to produce more paperclips and eventually turn the entire universe into paperclips at maximum efficiency, first obliterating the humanity as an obstacle in that goal (resisting having their world turned into paperclips).
Let's then not be utter idiots with a goal to have infinite paperclips or something equally useless (convert entire planet into surveilance equipment to monitor the enemy territory better...) and let's design an AI that the humanity would be happy with. A nebulous concept, but I want to keep it so nebulous, because honestly, the AI would probably invent better specific goals than we ever could.
What rules would these be?
- Serve the common goals and desires of the humanity?
Protect life, but don't restrict the freedom in the name of protection?
Maybe a simple and abstract one: Act to satisfaction of the humanity ?
Oh, and before we fall into the "literal genie" pitfall, no, globally modifying human brain, so that it perceives happiness about the AI at all times, is not a satisfactory outcome. I believe this precondition could be phrased as a hypothetical conditional: "If the creators of the AI - or their descendants - fully knew these results beforehand, they'd approve."
(so - the AI's meddling with human body/brain/mind structure would be only acceptable within limits that we today would find acceptable - even if the future outlook of the humanity gets more liberal.)
How would one phrase these rules? Something that wouldn't run away into another paper-clipper or shut itself down due to inability to act, or "optimize the humanity away", say, reducing it to a single insane specimen being perfectly happy with a total wipe-out? Or designing the entire future universe into a physical representation of a memetic bomb, image, description of which, if given to any of the human ancestors, would wrap their mind into insanity and make them drool in happy bliss, thus satisfying the need for their (hypothetical) approval.