Professor Stephen Hawking, a well-known British theoretical scientist, said this week that he believes artificial intelligence — machines that can think — may be a threat to mankind.
"The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race," Hawking told the BBC
. He made the comment after he was asked about the communication technology that he uses, which has an AI component to it.
Hawking, who suffers from has a motor neuron disease related to ALS, is nearly fully paralyzed and communicates with a speech-generating device.
AI is currently primitive, and Hawking acknowledged its usefulness. But if it progresses to the level where AI can match, or even exceed, human intelligence, problems may be in store.
"It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate," Hawking said. "Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded."
But Rollo Carpenter, who created the Cleverbot program that is designed to chat as a human would, doesn’t agree with Hawking.
"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 realized," said Carpenter, whose creation did well on the Turing test, which measures AI abilities. "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."
Entrepreneur Elon Musk, though, tweeted in August his own concerns about AI and its potential.
A day later, he added:
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