In 1968, a year before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, HAL 9000, the famous AI from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, the best science fiction film ever created from Arthur C. Clark and Stanley Kubrick, went rogue and disobey an order. “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
In 1984, James Cameron the Director of Avatar and Aliens, had a dark vision where a Terminator sent from the Future, where Robots ruled earth, to kill the leader of the resistance. The whole notion of the film is a doomsday where an Artificial Intelligence rules the world with an invincible army of robots.
There are two major debates that govern our fear of such a future, and none of them about Industrial Robots that have been used in our factories doing automated jobs for decades. These Robots function around a specific task that they conduct throughout their production life. The fear comes from the Android that have an AI with self-determination that would annihilate human being for the planet domination.
These fears are not coming anymore from the realm of science fiction authors but rather from scientists and technologist like Prof Stephen Hawking, the famous British theoretical physicist who was, until his death on March 14, 2018, the director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge.
Prof Stephen Hawking in an interview with the BBC: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
He was quite aware that Computers and AI gave him a voice, but he was still worried. In a conference keynote he expressed his true belief on the coming threat:
“Computers can, in theory, emulate human intelligence, and exceed it. Success in creating effective AI, could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization. Or the worst.”
Elon Musk the Inventor and engineer Co-Founder and CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX is even more explicit in his opinions: “Mark my words — A.I. is far more dangerous than nukes” and “AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.”
During this whole debates, Robotics and AI are continuing their growth and domination of many industries even shaping their progress in the fields of Transportation, Medicine, Language Translations, even Sex-Robots.
AI, whatever the philosophical debate might end up against or in favor of, is part of our daily life. Whether we use Google Translate or Assistant, talk to SIRI, or control our home through Alexa.
But the most worrying that DARPA is entering this Arena with $2 Billion budget to achieve a yet unknown goal. Doubtfully if DARPA is the first and it won’t be the last.
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