Bots Rising – The Fear of Artificial Intelligence
We are here to fuel paranoia and fear about AI and data driven technology. Where will it take us in the future?
Elon Musk is the dude, am I right? He’s a billionaire who’s investing in the future of the earth through his inventions and investigations, and is the co-founder and head product architect of Tesla - and the driving force behind the Hyperloop project (which is basically a high-speed tube that you chuck a human-filled pod inside and then catapult them through it to get to their destination. Sounds better than a ride at Disneyland, huh?).
According to Elon, he’s recently been sleeping on the floor of his factory because he has no time between all of his endeavours to get home to his real bed, or to even take five minutes for a shower. Aristotle did say something about there being no great genius without a touch of madness didn’t he?
Elon has been talking about the risk he sees with the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for years, but recently he’s become even more stony-faced and grim as he cautions the world about where the bots will be, and what they will be capable of doing within our lifetime.
He recently said, "I am really quite close, I am very close, to the cutting edge in AI and it scares the hell out of me. It's capable of vastly more than almost anyone knows, and the rate of improvement is exponential…the rate of improvement is really dramatic. We have to figure out some way to ensure that the advent of digital super intelligence is one which is symbiotic with humanity. I think that is the single biggest existential crisis that we face and the most pressing one."
So…Elon is basically saying Super Intelligent AI may not be compatible with human life? Yes…he is. “If AI has a goal and humanity just happens to be in the way, it will destroy humanity as a matter of course without even thinking about it. No hard feelings,” *pulls collar* yikes!
So, does this mean we should be scared of the AI we already know? Is Alexa listening to us, learning our secrets and plotting the end of the human race? And will Google become the immortal, robo-dictator overlord that Elon is worried about?
Amazon have tried to assure us that Alexa is harmless and even blocks her ears when we don’t want her to listen, but how does she hear you say her name if she’s not listening?! There were also reports earlier this year of Alexa laughing at random, without being given any voice command to turn on. Elon weighed in on this too, tweeting “Every time Alexa laughs, an angel dies…”
Every time Alexa laughs, an angel dies, so thank goodness …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 8, 2018
Paranoia about AI and data driven technology isn’t anything new – Facebook, Google and Amazon have all been fighting rumours that they serve ads to users based on listening in via a microphone for a long time. And even if we believed that they were just really good at making predictions on what ads to serve us from our data, it’s been revealed that Amazon have now patented ‘voice sniffing’ technology to use in the future where Alexa – or perhaps the immortal robo-dictator – will take what you say in conversation and proactively book appointments and make dinner reservations for you.
So, where will AI take us? Will it remove our need for doctors by using data to make diagnoses? Will it be able to run the USA without inciting riots? Perhaps it will save the environment!
Will it write conspiracy theories about itself, or will it wipe us out all together? Only time will tell. Until then, at least we’ve got a genius billionaire going into bat for the human race. As Elon has said “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds aren’t in your favour”.
Keep reading. Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.
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