Stephen Hawking: 'Transcendence Looks at the Implications of Artificial Intelligence--But Are We Taking AI Seriously Enough?'
The Independent (United Kingdom) (05/01/14)Today's advances in artificial intelligence (AI) research will pale in comparison to what the next decade will bring, write Stephen Hawking, Stuart Russell, Max Tegmark, and Frank Wilczek. They say success in advancing AI would be the biggest event in human history, as AI could provide tools for eradicating war, disease, and poverty. Looking further ahead, there are no fundamental limits to what can be achieved, and an explosive transition is possible, although it might play out differently from what is depicted in popular entertainment. The authors warn AI's development could lead to machines with superhuman intelligence outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons people cannot understand. The short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, but the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all. Facing potential futures of incalculable benefits and risks, the authors say experts are not doing everything possible to ensure the best outcome and they note little serious research is devoted to these issues outside certain nonprofit institutes. They say everyone in the field should ask themselves what they can do to improve the chances of reaping the benefits and avoiding the risks.