In 1991, the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day shocked the world with scenes showing machines attacking mankind. But this was just a caricature representing the threats of artificial intelligence (AI). Other films of the sort were made such as in 2001: Space Odyssey and Ex-Machina. These images have come back to haunt the minds of prodigal minds of the nation in this century.
Elon Musk has been debating this subject since 2014. In South Africa, when he announced the future electronic cars with the company Telsa, he was concerned about how this newfound technology will affect the all of his projects related with AI.
For this reason, he opened a non-profit body company called OpenAI whose main goal is discovering a trustworthy path to applying this technology. The start-up company Neuralink is working on developing a neuronal link that will help us to take advantage of and control safe AI.
Musk is fully committed to this matter and he has also publically stated, “the risk is too great, not to do so.” He is afraid of the far-reaching affects of AI and becomes fearful every time the subject is mentioned. He pleads that countries makes laws to strictly control the development of AI, especially about prohibiting the dangerous marriage between AI and weapon industry. He isn’t alone in his beliefs, standing behind him are 115 IA and robotic experts who have all signed a letter directed to the UN just last week, saying: “Self-reliant lethal weapons threaten to begin the third revolution in war. Once they are developed, they will bring about an armed conflict to a scale larger and faster that is beyond human comprehension.“
It doesn’t stop there. They make an imaginary scenario that shows criminals and terrorist groups using intelligent weapons against citizens, then showing how the hackers can reprogram the weapons even faster, allowing them to do greater damage. The letter finishes by warning that once this Pandora Box has been opened it will be extremely difficult to close it. Those who signed the letter implored ” that the high officials find a way to protect us from these dangers.” The script makes it seem that it is already too late. None of the more than a hundred scientists and Musk takes this matter lightly. The tone of voice in the letter sounds borderline paranoid, as a substantiated reality-awaiting fulfillment.
For this reason, quite the uproar occurred when Mark Zuckerberg went up against the fears of Musk and began to minimize them. This is a small matter, as Zuckerberg has created a social network with more than 2 billion human followers. The network has the ability to influence and display certain amount of power over its followers, not at a state level but worldwide. He has confessed his desire to in a virtual reality, as seeing the future of his company. He also has a soft spot for the developing artificial intelligence.
Zuckerberg threw the first stone. During a live online session with his followers on his own social media, his followers asked him about Musk’s red alerts. He gave a frank answer, saying ” I have pretty strong opinions on this. And I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios are really negative and in some ways, I actually think it is pretty irresponsible. ” This confrontation was quickly taken to press. Once these comments were posted on social media, such as Twitter, Musk did not delay in responding. He came back saying that “I have already spoken to Zuckerberg on this subject, but he has a very hind-sighted comprehension.”
The sharp comments between these two men who both have the power to influence the future of this planet did not go on for long, but their actions spoke louder than words. In the heart of the FAIR (Facebook Artificial Intelligence), the AI lab for Facebook and the top developers made a worrisome discovery. The chat-boots that they generally used for programming their webpage has moved away from its original script and began to communicate in unknown language without any help from a human. As many news articles mentioned, this is an exciting new development but at the same time, a frightening one.
On the side of Zuckerberg, despite the new developments in the FAIR (that seem to conform to the potential of machines learning on their own), was the British Professor, Kenneth Payne of the King’s College in London. He considers that whatever Musk tries to do it will be negative, and will enter into conflicts with artificial intelligence. He does not consider AI to be negative but beneficial for mankind in the battlefield. He concluded that worrying that the modern day advances for AI will bring about an Apocalypse is a total waste of time.
This debate focused on the advancement of AI will go beyond war and can impact multiple circumstances. As the truth comes forward in the future, the rest of the world will be varying between excitement and paranoia. Others will be praying that the 4 horsemen mentioned in the bible book of Apocalypse doesn’t come soon and that they are not made of metal.