Should You Be Afraid of Artificial Intelligence?

If you’ve ever watched The Office then you know how Dwight Shrute’s worst fear is robots taking over the world. Can you imagine a world where robots become self-aware and either enslave us or target us for extinction?

“One thing that people are afraid of, is that if super-intelligent AI — more intelligent than us — becomes conscious, it could treat us like lower beings, like we treat monkeys.” -Kilian Weinberger, Computer Science Professor of Cornell University

You may have heard of Elon Musk who is quite vocal about his AI concerns.

“In July 2017, Musk told attendees at a meeting of the National Governors Association, “I have exposure to the very cutting-edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it.””- Live Science

Musk also stated we have much bigger problems than North Korea. However, Weinberger raised a valid point, the fear of AI overthrowing humanity is rooted in misconceptions of what AI is. Basically, AI operates under defined and limited algorithms that control its behavior. AI skills include beating you at chess and winning at eye spy, not taking over the world.

“AI reaching consciousness — there has been absolutely no progress in research in that area,” Weinberger said. “I don’t think that’s anywhere in our near future.”

You might even describe artificial intelligence as weak. AI is simply a simulation of human cognition. Weak AI is limited by rules that govern its behavior.

“Computers can only appear to think but are not actually conscious in any sense of the word.”- Techopedia

Now, I am not saying strong artificial intelligence is impossible but it sure isn’t happening right now. You can stop worrying about your toaster trying to murder you in your sleep. There is nothing to worry about, yet.

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