An AI researcher explains what scares him the most about robots

A still from iRobot, a Will Smith movie. Prophets of Science Fiction: Isaac Asimov As an artificial intelligence researcher, I often come across the idea that many people are afraid of what AI might bring. It’s perhaps unsurprising, given both history and the entertainment industry, that we might be afraid of a cybernetic takeover that forces us to live locked away, “Matrix”-like, as some sort of human battery. And yet it is hard for me to look up from the evolutionary computer models I use to develop AI, to think about how the innocent virtual creatures on my screen might become the monsters of the future. Might I become “the destroyer of worlds,” as Oppenheimer lamented after spearheading the construction of the first nuclear bomb? I would take the fame, I suppose, but perhaps the critics are right. Maybe I shouldn’t avoid asking: As an AI expert, what do I fear about artificial intelligence? Fear of the unforeseen Hello, Fred The HAL 9000 computer, dreamed up by science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke and brought to life by movie director Stanley Kubrick in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” is a good example of a system that fails because of unintended consequences.…


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