The Beginner’s Guide to the A.I. Apocalypse, 2016 Edition

In this corner of the ring, we have the camp that sees the treacherous “pitfalls,” and in this corner we have those who envision utopia. What is it they’re contesting? Artificial intelligence’s role in our future. One camp has laid out an open letter that warns of how A.I. will be used by war-waging states. Eventually A.I. will outpace humans, morph itself malevolent, and precipitate the apocalypse. Science fiction has long since established the conceptual terrain for these scenarios, so it’s a simple matter of connecting the dots. Take a pinch of one real-world A.I. breakthrough, add in a dash of pop culture, and post to Twitter. Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ pits Dave, pictured here, against HAL 9000, an A.I.-gone-rogue. The film was released in 1968. The other…

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