Stephen Hawking Warns Against Developing Artificial Intelligence
A few months back we saw Elon Musk disturbed when he was asked about artificial intelligence (AI.) Elon said that he believed that getting AI online would be akin the guy in the movies who summons the demon, sure he thinks he can control it but that rarely is the case. He also added that HAL 9000 would be a puppy dog next to what humans can create. Now world’s foremost physicist, Stephen Hawking is also pointing us towards the same direction.
Artificial Intelligence development is in full swing. Many major research centers are working towards creating a sentient computer which can observe the world as an intelligent creature. We have also seen the inclusion of AI technologies on many mobile apps. But several scientists are warning that this might not be such a good idea.
Professor Hawking told BBC, “The primitive forms of artificial intelligence we already have, have proved very useful. But I think the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
The concern against AI is valid as we cannot comprehend the potential of a self-aware machine. The knowledge that took us humans thousands of years to attain will be processed by such intelligent computer within moments of reaching a sentient stage. It can see humanity as an obstacle and might use its own resources and weapons to eliminate the human species from earth. There have been many blockbuster movies which delve in this subject.
One of the major ironies of this statement by the Professor is that he himself got a technological upgrade that makes it easier for him to communicate. He suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and previously he used his hands to communicate at 15 words per minute. But in 2008, after losing the ability to use his hands, he switched to cheek switch. By tensing his cheek muscles, the low infrared system that is installed on his glasses helps him communicate. Now Intel has provided the world renowned professor with the new ACAT (Assistive Context Aware Toolkit) system which uses an advanced form of artificial intelligence. Ironic? We think so.
ACAT is based on predictive texts that analyses English language and the professors speech pattern to help him communicate. Hawking was also provided an option for a more natural sounding tone of voice, but he decided to stick with his robotic voice. Guess we can be thankful for that as it has become the voice of Stephen Hawking in our brains for decades now. ACAT will be opened for developers in 2015 and is expected to be extremely beneficial for the disabled, especially the quadriplegics.
As we move closer to the era of Artificial Intelligence, you can expect more prominent voices raising their opposition against it. As Elon said, we need more oversight and a cultural dialogue over whether we should push the boundaries with the AI because this is a question for the entire of the human civilization.