ARTIFICIAL Intelligence (AI) could sideline and “destroy” its human creators if engineers cannot get a grip on the ethics behind it, Professor Stephen Hawking has warned.
Speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon, the theoretical physicist said AI has the potential to be the best or worst thing humanity has ever seen and the scary reality is we just don’t know which yet, news.com.au reports.
“We cannot know if we will be infinitely helped by AI or ignored by it and sidelined, or conceivably destroyed by it,” he said.
The Cambridge professor said while AI could be hugely beneficial for reducing poverty, disease and restoring the natural environment, it’s impossible to predict “what we might achieve when our own minds are amplified by AI”.
“AI could be the worst invention of the history of our civilisation, that brings dangers like powerful autonomous weapons or new ways for the few to oppress the many.”
“AI could develop a will of its own, a will that is in conflict with ours and which could destroy us. In short, the rise of powerful AI will be either the best, or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity.”
Addressing the crowd of engineers and tech workers at the “vanguard” of AI development, Hawking warned they needed to focus on maximising benefits for society rather than pure capability.
“We need to employ effective management in all areas of its development,” he said. “We stand on a threshold of a brave new world. It is an exciting, if precarious place to be and you are the pioneers.”
Hawking has warned that developing artificial intelligence could literally be “the last thing we do” as a species.
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