Stephen Hawking has warned that artificial intelligence could end the human race. He told the BBC, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” His warning came in response to a question about a revamp of the technology he uses to communicate, which involves a basic form of artificial intelligence (AI).
The BBC reported Hawking’s, who has the motor neurone disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), warning came in response to a question about the new typing technology used in the computer that allows him to speak, which predicts the words he is going to use.
Prof Hawking says the primitive forms of artificial intelligence developed so far have already proved very useful, but he fears the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans. He said, ” 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 Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded
Machine learning experts from the British company Swiftkey were also involved in its creation. Their technology, already employed as a smartphone keyboard app, learns how the professor thinks and suggests the words he might want to use next.
Cleverbot is software that is designed to chat like a human would
Rollo Carpenter, creator of Cleverbot, said, I believe we will remain in charge of the technology for a decently long time and the potential of it to solve many of the world problems will be realised.”
Mr Carpenter says we are a long way from having the computing power or developing the algorithms needed to achieve full artificial intelligence, but believes it will come in the next few decades.
He said, “We cannot quite know what will happen if a machine exceeds our own intelligence, so we can’t know if we’ll be infinitely helped by it, or ignored by it and sidelined, or conceivably destroyed by it.” But he is betting that AI is going to be a positive force.
Prof Hawking is not alone in fearing for the future. In the short term, there are concerns that clever machines capable of undertaking tasks done by humans until now will swiftly destroy millions of jobs.
The technology entrepreneur Elon Musk has warned that AI is ‘our biggest existential threat’.
Hawking also warned about the dangers of the internet, during the interview with the BBC. Referencing the director of GCHQ’s warning that the internet could become a command centre of terrorists, Hawking said, “More must be done by the internet companies to counter the threat, but the difficulty is to do this without sacrificing freedom and privacy.”