Friday, December 9, 2016

When is Skynet Launching Again?

So this interests me.  I blogged earlier about what effect AI and machine learning will have long term on the economy.

In an article from April, John Markoff in the New York Times references these warnings from some tech luminaries mentioned in an earlier article:

“I don’t understand why some people are not concerned,” Mr. [Bill] Gates said in an interview on Reddit.

“I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence,” Mr. [Elon] Musk said during an interview at M.I.T. “If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that,” he added. He has also said that artificial intelligence would “summon the demon.”

And Mr. [Stephen] Hawking told the BBC that “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

The overall article is more positive about the future of humanity:

What has not been shown, however, is scientific evidence for such an event. Indeed, the idea has been treated more skeptically by neuroscientists and a vast majority of artificial intelligence researchers. 
For starters, biologists acknowledge that the basic mechanisms for biological intelligence are still not completely understood, and as a result there is not a good model of human intelligence for computers to simulate.
Indeed, the field of artificial intelligence has a long history of over-promising and under-delivering. John McCarthy, the mathematician and computer scientist who coined the term artificial intelligence, told his Pentagon funders in the early 1960s that building a machine with human levels of intelligence would take just a decade. Even earlier, in 1958 The New York Times reported that the Navy was planning to build a “thinking machine” based on the neural network research of the psychologist Frank Rosenblatt. The article forecast that it would take about a year to build the machine and cost about $100,000. 
I'm going to be an optimist and go with Mr. Markoff's view of things.