… so let’s say a few more words about AI in general. Perhaps not so much about AI directly, but more about what people of note have to say on the topic. Below is a quick summary of six different views of AI by seven different celebrities.
Stephen Hawking says that we should augment ourselves as soon as possible, otherwise technological progress will overtake biology and then we’ll be in trouble! He says that we should use genetics based tech and whatever else preserves our biological essence. Either he sees something of intrinsic worth in biology, or he thinks that the death of biology means the death of us, which would be a shame.
Elon Musk says that in developing AI we are letting a genie out of the bottle whom, once free, we will be unable to contain. Interestingly, self-driving cars seem not to qualify as “true AI”, nor a significant step in that direction. It’s also interesting that he believes that if AI were developed in a more democratic manner it would be less dangerous. He even started a company centered around “open source, non-violent AI”.
Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, is more optimistic. He says that Musk is needlessly fear mongering, and that everything will be fine almost as if by default. It almost seems that he is of the opinion that with an advanced enough AI, the whole world will be like one big happy Facebook. Perhaps he will grow somewhat more pessimistic now that Facebook chatbots, which are supposed to negotiate with each other on behalf of users, have suddenly started speaking in tongues. Interestingly, a deal is usually made anyway. In the best interest of the users, of course.
Andrew Ng says that AI should concern us as much as a future overpopulation of Mars. He says that instead of efforts going towards technological advancement, some fear mongers and speculators are diverting funds towards counteracting nonexistent risks. As if he last name were part of the band name “Cool & The Gang”. Nomen est Omen.
Eliezer Yudkowsky is quite a bit more concerned. He says we have one chance to get it right, or it will end very badly for us. He also believes that convolutional neural networks, which began the ongoing AI spring, are a big deal. We live in dangerous times therefore, according to him.
Nick Bostrom is full of self-authored interesting stories. He likens us humans, who wish to create a digital superintelligence, to sparrows intending to domesticate an owl. All they need do is steal some owl eggs, hatch them and raise some young owls. Control over them would give the sparrows a good defense against cats and some help in the construction of nests for sparrow couples. Not to mention babysitting the chicks.
As you can see, different people have very different perspectives on AI. We mainly use it as a tool to automatize intellectually demanding processes. These optimizations, in turn, call for further recursive application of automation. Could it, some day, come to pass that we will no longer be able to control them? Not if we do it right.
So, in summation, we believe in automation everything, including automation.