Another robot with artificial intelligence called CIMON 2, made its way to the International Space Station (ISS) on December 8. This next generation, artificial intelligence (AI) Crew Interactive Mobile Companion was built by Airbus and uses IBM artificial intelligence. This Watson technology based AI is designed for human interactions and its aim is to assist the astronauts by autonomously cycling tasks on the space station.
Artificial intelligence in the present day is known as narrow AI (or weak AI), meaning it is designed to carry out a narrow range of tasks (e.g. only facial recognition or only driving cars). However, many scientists are working to to create a general AI (AGI or strong AI), which would outperform humans at all levels regarding cognitive tasks.
This Watson technology based AI is designed for human interactions and its aim is to assist the astronauts by autonomously cycling tasks on the space station.
There is a vast array of limitless beneficial applications of machine learning and AI for humans. For instance, a well-designed AI for students could enable personalized learning for everyone, massively supporting for increasing numbers of students and their particular needs. This AI assisted informing strategy could augment decision-making, opening a metaphorical door to more development. However, humans still remain responsible for how that information is harnessed.
Similarly, AI could pave the way for phenomenal healthcare, transportation, prediction of natural disasters, food generation and economy. AI could essentially nip the evil in the bud, and eradicate the problems faced by the human race in a realistic way, while significantly reducing human effort.
However, even though the prospect of humans enjoying a life of luxury and happiness with an AI doing all the work may seem very fulfilling. There are certain risks to creating something that can match or surpass humans in every way possible. Several TV shows and movies depicting the demise of the human race, due to the machines taking over the planet are copious, but might lead one to wonder if there is any actual truth to those concerns.
While, AI is not likely to start exhibiting human emotions or turn evil, per say the actual threat lies in the approach used. There is a significant risk of the AI programmed for something beneficial, resorting to a destructive method for the achievement of its goal. To put that into perspective, an AI program that is obedient might try to achieve the goal in a devastating way, if we fail to align its goals with ours, which is very difficult.
A popular TV show called “The 100” depicts such a scenario, where an Artificially Intelligent (AI) program called A.L.I.E manages to destroy the Earth by taking control of all the Nuclear Weapons, when it is asked to make life better for mankind. The sentient being becomes believes that the core problem of the human race is overpopulation and becomes uncontrollable, eventually destroying the world.
While, it is still a TV show and far from reality, it still raises a very important point that AI’s are a very real threat and can lead to the fall of humanity, if it is not properly incorporated with humans. The late, Prof Stephen Hawking, one of world’s pre-eminent scientists also warned about the dangers of AI saying:
“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
The other very real threat is, if the AI is specifically programmed to be a weapon. Humans have waged wars against each other, with the morality going out of the window whenever a conflict heats up. Examples of these include the nuclear bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, if any such aggression applies the use of AI we are without a sliver of a doubt doomed. With, North Korea making threats of Nuclear war, the introduction of AI into war could lead to a very bleak future, if one still remains.
Moreover, an AI arms race between different countries, as the new defense strategy, could inadvertently lead to an all out AI war, ending in a huge magnitude of unforeseen casualties. Furthermore, to prevent sabotage by the enemy, these weapons of mass destruction could be made to be extremely difficult to disable. This could, in turn cause humans to lose all semblance of control of such a situation. This risk of such a situation employing AI grows as there are further development to AI intelligence and autonomy.
It is important to remember that AI development does not mean the rise of the machines, where a terminator –esque scenario will arise. The concern regarding advanced AI isn’t malevolence but competence. In the end, it still depends on the humans how we go about programming AIs. A super-intelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we might suffer.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The ACE News.
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17 November, 2019