For generations we have been exposed to books and films that have, for the most part, painted the future as dark…a dystopian world as opposed to the much desired utopian societies so many dream of. In many cases technology, under the veil of making things better, have made things far worse. Films like I-Robot, The Matrix, Blade Runner, The Terminator, or Hal in 2001 come easily to mind for most of us. But, they were just films…a fantasy to entertain the audience, and perhaps make us think of the future just a bit. However as we have seen, fiction has a habit of becoming fact as any fan of Michelangelo or reader of H.G. Wells will attest to. Flying machines, tanks, trips to the moon, submarines have all become fact from the fiction they once were.
And now we are faced with the reality of Artificial Intelligence, or AI. For years we have hear that it was coming, but it always seemed a long way off and would require unheard of computer power and coding. It seems that now we are just on the threshold of making AI a reality (perhaps it has already been done in secrecy) with all the positives and negatives it may bring.
But wait just a moment, before we open that potential Pandora’s Box. What if some of the top ‘thinkers’, scientists, greatest minds of our times were warning us not to go ahead with AI? We have all heard of Stephen Hawking and the great scientific thinking he has offered us. He speaks, and the scientific world takes notice. Recently, Hawking, along with other notables have issued dire warning against AI, saying
“One can imagine such technology outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand.” “Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.”
If the greatest minds of our time are sounding warning bells, perhaps we should be listening very very closely. One of the characters in the film Jurassic Park said “…your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think…if they should.” And we all know how that turned out.