Recently lot of discussions are going on in different forums regarding the threats that artificial intelligence can bring to the human race. Great visionaries like Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has warned us against the risks that AI can bring to our race. They have argued in favour of imposing strict regulations to control how AI will be used. In this article I will share my view on how artificial intelligence can be a threat to our existence.
When we think about the rise of the machines, first picture that comes to our mind is human race fighting against the machines to save the human race from extinction as depicted in popular Hollywood movies like Terminator or Matrix. These movies have shown us how machines can become intelligent enough to rise against their creators. The threats depicted in these movies may be a more than a science fiction.
Facebook has recently shared a finding (link) where two communicating chatbots suddenly changed their language of communication to a different language which is not understandable by us. Though the language was not familiar to humans, there was a pattern which confirms that the chatbots actually invented a new language for communication. Facebook immediately stopped the experiment. AI has also defeated best human players in many strategy games recently. These examples show us how fast AI is improving and replacing humans in different aspects of life.
Now the question is should we stop AI related research to eliminate the chance of harms this can bring to our lives? Considering the benefits that we are already getting and can possibly get in future by using AI to improve our lives, it will be impossible to stop AI related research. It is also nearly impossible to impose any restriction on this. Technology required to research AI is within reach of everyone. So, it is not as easy as controlling the use of nuclear power. Power of AI can be used for evil as it can be used for a better tomorrow.
I can see two different type of threats intelligent machines can bring to us. First is intelligent machines being misused by warmongers and terrorists just like any other deadly weapons ( e.g. nuclear and biological weapons). AI can help them creating autonomous robot warriors capable of mass destruction. Second is machines becoming superior to the humans and taking over the world. First one is probably our immediate threat and needs to be addressed.
If we are wise enough to resist the temptation of using AI for the evil intentions then we might live to see the day may be after 50 years when machines will takeover. However, a war with the machines may not be needed. There is a threat which is probably more alarming. That is the threat of our creative pursuits being taken over by the machines. We may welcome AI to relieve us from monotonous repetitive tasks. But, if we are defeated in the creative front then we might lose our purpose of living. There can be a life without any purpose, any goal and achievements. If that day becomes reality then also human race will be extinct without any weapons. Maybe we should consider this outcome as well.