When Tesla CEO, Elon Musk was asked about artificial intelligence, he said it was like ‘summoning a demon’ who shouldn’t be called unless you can control it. Yes, this is the founder of the same company whose cars are pushing new limits of technology every day.
When Stephen Hawking was asked this same question by BBC, he cautioned the public by saying that any further advancement to artificial intelligence could be a fatal mistake. In another interview, he mentioned that AI has the power to re-design itself and take off on its own whereas humans have slow biological evolution, and they wouldn’t be able to compete.
Bill Gates, too, expressed his concern about this topic during a Reddit Ask me Anything session. According to him, AI devices will be fine initially, but as they start learning more and more from us, and about us, they will get more powerful and intelligent than the humankind.
Do we even need Artificial Intelligence
Ever since the beginning of time, we humans have had a desire for technological advancements and innovation. Through our vivid imaginations, we have been able to develop technologies that previously seemed impossible were just a part of our science fiction fantasies. Virtual reality, space tourism, self-driving cars and the much talked about artificial intelligence. Some of the most talented innovators have blurred the lines between fantasy and fiction for us.
Artificial intelligence is now a very real prospect that companies are focusing on. Now, for those of you who are still new to this concept, Artificial intelligence is a field of science which focuses on how hardware and software components of a machine can exhibit intelligent behaviour. Instead of being fed information from the user himself, they learn over the course of time and become more intelligent. Currently, many companies are working on AI projects including Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Minecraft. South Korea also has some high profile AI projects going on.
And these are just the companies that have made this official; there might also be companies that are secretly working on AI projects.
Why should humans be scared of Artificial Intelligence
If there is one thing we have learnt from every science fiction movie, then that is the fact that robots can become evil. If the robots learn to work autonomously, they can be an obvious threat to the people. It has been said that governments are developing AI robots for the military, but if these robots get control over major military weapons, it could be dangerous.
Another theory is that AI robots could take over all the standard jobs like watchmen, accountants, security guards, waiters and drivers. And this is already happening. Machinery has replaced industry workers in many verticals. Workers need monthly pay, bonuses, health insurance and what not but with robots, companies only have to pay one-time and then there are only the maintenance costs.
One more issue with AI is that machines might be able to create codes for themselves. If these machines really learn from the environment, and they become autonomous, then they can also write their own codes and perform work that they weren’t even meant to do in the first place. So, even an AI robot that was initially built to handle minute kitchen work can code itself to become a military robot. But, what happens when the computers can completely teach themselves to run without any humans?
Though the worst threat to AI applications are the humans itself. The main focus of developing AI might just be to ease our everyday activities but what happens when these AI applications get into the wrong hand? After all, at the end of the day, these are just robots, and they can be reprogrammed as well. So, a robot that was initially built by the military, to fight for the country could get into the hands of terrorists, and they could make that robot fight against the country. That AI robot, would not just be fighting, he would also know a lot of secrets of the military which could help it defeat the opposition.
While there are a lot of assumptions about AI being dangerous, we have to remember that these are just assumptions and not facts. Humans have always been doubtful about new technologies; there was a time when we were also hesitant about cell phones. But, it’s been more than two decades and cell phones are still here. All in all, it’s about how we create Artificial Intelligence and how we keep it under check.
By Ritika Tiwari