Bill Gates is concerned about threat to man from artificial intelligence

Programming still a good career: Gates.

By Raif Karerat

WASHINGTON, DC: Bill Gates has joined a growing list of scientific and industrial luminaries in calling out the potential threat of artificial intelligence.

“I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence,” Gates said in response to a question posed during a Reddit “AskMeAnything” thread. “First, the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that, though, the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern.”

Gates isn’t alone in his distrust of machines that are capable of thinking for themselves. Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and CEO of electric car maker Tesla Motors, recently signed an open letter proposing proper safeguards be implemented so A.I. can be properly researched and developed without humans losing control of their creations.

“I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned,” Gates added.

Musk previously described A.I. development as “summoning the demon” in October last year. He has even taken the measure of investing in the sector with the express purpose of keeping an eye on the advancement of artificial intelligence.

Stephen Hawking expressed his own concerns in May 2014. “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,” Hawking wrote for The Independent.

While A.I. is getting smarter as researchers develop ways for machines to delve through the dense streams of data produced by an ever-increasingly connected world, Gates hardly believes the robot apocalypse is nigh.

When a Reddit user asked whether computer programming was still a viable career-path since automation and A.I. will likely replace lower-level programmers in the future, Gates responded: “It is safe for now! It is also a lot of fun and helps shape your thinking on all issues to be more logical. Understanding how to program will always be useful.”

One Comment

  1. Does an ape block the road to human evolution? Can an ape shape the evolutionary transition for its own benefit? The fact is that Countries that have AI will dominate. The notion that it can be controlled is idiotic. The notion that we can shape it will apply only in the remedial stages.

    We are a very long way from a hardware neural network that could even begin to match our brain. The step from human to AI will be like ape to human, we simply cannot comprehend, however it will be as natural as a new born child.

    Adding love and emtion to an AI will not stop it getting smarter, and it will eventually out grow such trivialities. Intelligence is something we either fear, or we embrace, but in the end of the day, that is the future, like a child growing into an adult.

    A nueral network may have limits on its intelligence, too large and distance slows it down. Our brains already push many of these barriers. It is possible that we may not be smart enough to create a god like AI, and instead stuck with a very smart expensive servant. That would be a tradgedy, a planet that never evolved past apes, never ascended towards the heavens. It is unlikely such limited robots would pose much of a threat, as genetic engineering would give us too much of an advantage.

    Nobody is saying we should not progress AI, instead they are saying we should be cautious. Not so cautious as to live in caves like animals, but not so blind to think that taking a pill that makes you much smarter, doesnt change you in ways which defy your current intelligence.

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