‘Judgement Day’ is Looming Over Us, and Yes! AI is the Reason Behind It
Historian predicts that AI might become the primary reason for human extinction
Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the next big thing, it is a big thing in every industry. Artificial intelligence has been purely integrated into our blood through various sectors and now whether we are talking about the business industry, healthcare industry, or beauty industry the presence of AI can be easily noticed, and how it is contributing to bringing revolutionary transformation globally. But will AI one day take over and destroy us all, like Skynet in the “Terminator” franchise?
It’s a fiery debate, and experts are yet very much divided. In the latest foray, philosopher and historian Émile Torres mentioned in The Washington Post that yes, we should be very concerned. Their specific concern is about artificial superintelligence (ASI) — an artificial power that would vastly exceed humanity’s cognitive prowess — could be the cause of humanity’s extinction, since we simply wouldn’t be able to predict or control its actions. “What if we program an ASI to establish world peace and it hacks government systems to launch every nuclear weapon on the planet — reasoning that if no human exists, there can be no more war?” Torres wrote. “Yes, we could program it explicitly not to do that. But what about its Plan B?”
Of course, there’s a substantial “if” hovering over whether that tech will ever exist. Torres thinks it is possible, though, given “exponential advances in computing,” and its potential significance, we should be worried. According to her “The success of any one of these projects would be the most significant event in human history” but suddenly, the human species would be joined on the planet by something more intelligent than humans. That means, that while artificial intelligence helps us “cure diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s, or clean up the environment,” it could also turn against us and maybe choose to wipe us out altogether.
Many experts predict that on one hand, the rise of artificial intelligence will make most people prosperous over the next decade, but on the other hand, some are concerned about how advances in AI will affect what it means to be human, to be productive, or will appear as the source of human extinction. Digital life is augmenting human capacities and disrupting eons-old human productivity. AI tools have spread to more than half of the world’s inhabitants in ambient information and connectivity, providing earlier unimagined opportunities and unprecedented threats. As emerging algorithm-driven artificial intelligence (AI) continues to spread, will people be better off than they are today?
Some 979 technology pioneers, innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers, and activists acknowledged this question in the canvassing of experts conducted in the summer of 2018.
The specialist predicted networked artificial intelligence will raise human effectiveness but also threaten human autonomy, agency, and capabilities. They spoke of the wide-ranging possibilities that computers might match or even exceed human intelligence and capabilities on tasks such as complex decision-making, reasoning and learning, sophisticated analytics and pattern recognition, visual accuracy, speech recognition, and language translation. They said “smart” systems in communities, in vehicles, in buildings and utilities, on farms, and in business processes will preserve time, money, and lives and put forward opportunities for individuals to relish a more-customized future.
Many focused their optimistic remarks on health care and the many possibilities of AI tool applications in diagnosing and treating patients or serving senior citizens to live fuller and healthier lives. They were also enthusiastic about AI robots’ presence in contributing to broad public-health programs built around massive amounts of data that may be captured in the coming years about everything from personal genomes to nutrition. Moreover, a number of these experts predicted that artificial intelligence would assist long-anticipated changes in formal and informal education systems.
Therefore, most experts, regardless of whether they are optimistic or not, express concerns before it is too late, about the long-term impact of these new robots on the essential elements of being human. Émile Torres, the historian argues that “research on artificial intelligence must slow down, or even pause. And if researchers are not stopping themselves, governments should make it for them.”
All respondents in this non-scientific canvassing were asked to elaborate on why they felt AI would leave people better off or not. Many shared deep worries, and many also suggested pathways toward solutions. The main themes they sounded about threats and remedies are outlined in the accompanying table.