Hmmm…I sense a trend.  And the trend I’m sensing is that lately some very intelligent people – movers and shakers in the world of science and technology are expressing concerns over the development of Artificial Intelligence or AI.  Back in October I wrote about Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, voicing his concerns.  Then about the same time there was an article in Popular Mechanics titled “Elon Musk and Other Visionaries Are Worried About The Future of AI”.  And now today I read at BBC news that  none other than Stephen Hawking has concerns as well.  Hawking was being interviewed by the Beeb  and in discussing new computer software that Hawking uses to speak, the subject of AI came up.  While Hawking concedes that the primitive forms of AI that have already been developed are very useful, he fears the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans.

It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” …  “Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.” – Stephen Hawking

Pretty much the same sentiment has been expressed by Elon Musk and James Cameron who, though he is a film director, is a very smart guy and has invested a ton of money into science and research projects.

But don’t worry!  According the the Beeb,” others are less pessimistic”.  One of those others is Rollo Carpenter, creator of something call Cleverbot.  Cleverbot is learning software that is capable of carrying on a conversation so well that if can fool people into thinking they are conversing with another person.  Carpenter says “I believe that we will remain in charge of the technology for a decently long time and the potential of it to solve many of the worlds problems will be realized”.  Oh.  Alright then.  As long as we remain in charge of the technology for a “decently long time” everything will be fine.  But how long is a decently long time?  Long enough for Rollo Carpenter to make a lot of money on Cleverbot and be safely tucked in his grave before Skynet decides that the most logical way to solve all of the world’s problems at once is to eliminate mankind?  I’d rather listen to Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk and others’ advice.  Err on the side of caution.  Because the solution to all the world’s problems could turn out to be the world’s biggest problem.

Cross Posted at Men Out of Work Blog