The Artificial Intelligence “Menace”

There has been a flurry of comment recently related to the supposed growing menace of Artificial Intelligence.

Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and most recently, Steve Wozniak have all sounded warnings about computers taking over and artificial intelligences plotting to get rid of us.

What’s caused the sudden volume of opinion on this? Perhaps it is the apparent success of highly visible projects like Google’s self driving cars promising reduced risk transport? After all, if an Artificial Intelligence is capable of driving itself around, how long before it can do other things that traditionally would need human level intelligence?

Viewpoints like these are good for generating lots of comment, but the reality is somewhat more mundane. The AI in Google’s car isn’t a single entity but is rather a collection of different techniques and algorithms. As such, it doesn’t behave like a general intelligence, but is specific to that domain. This has been the case for as long as researchers have been looking at AI: it’s brittle.

Nevertheless, AI techniques are indeed spreading into new spheres of life all the time. So the societal impact will be profound. But can we please discuss this without resorting to fear and hyperbole.

Have a look at the videos on IGN and judge for yourself.

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