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Artificial Intelligence Threat- Are artificial intelligence (AI) and superintelligent machines the best or worst thing that could ever happen to humankind? This has been a question in existence since the 1940s when computer scientist Alan Turing wondered and began to believe that there would be a time when machines could have an unlimited impact on humanity through a process that mimicked evolution.
When Oxford University Professor Nick Bostrom’s New York Times best-seller, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies was first published in 2014, it struck a nerve at the heart of this debate with its focus on all the things that could go wrong. However, in my recent conversation with Bostrom, he also acknowledged there’s an enormous upside to artificial intelligence technology.
Since the writing of Bostrom’s book in 2014, progress has been very rapid in artificial intelligence and machine and deep learning. Artificial intelligence is in the public discourse, and most governments have some sort of strategy or road map to address AI. In his book, he talked about AI being a little bit like children playing with a bomb that could go off at any time.
Bostrom explained, “There’s a mismatch between our level of maturity in terms of our wisdom, our ability to cooperate as a species on the one hand and on the other hand our instrumental ability to use technology to make big changes in the world. It seems like we’ve grown stronger faster than we’ve grown wiser.”
There are all kinds of exciting AI tools and applications that are beginning to affect the economy in many ways. These shouldn’t be overshadowed by the overhype on the hypothetical future point where you get AIs with the same general learning and planning abilities that humans have as well as superintelligent machines. These are two different contexts that require attention.