The world witnessed the request of numerous scientific figures to ban autonomous weapons during the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires this Monday. NOBEL laureate Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, the head of SpaceX, and Steve Wozniak are some of the many scientists who raised awareness concerning the implementation of what we could call “AI weapons”.
This is not the first time these brilliant men have pointed out the danger that AI can represent to human kind. Back in December 2014, Steven Hawking commented that robots could very well be our damnation. His argument was that humans are impeded by a “slow biological evolution” while robots present themselves fully evolved. Humans would need to keep up with this evolution which is not favorable to their survival.
Elon Musk has also mentioned several times before that artificial intelligence might be “the biggest existential threat” that human kind could be facing.
It is our duty to judge and establish as to how far we can go with artificial intelligence. It is very obvious that it has brought us many advantages over the years: our day to day lives have become a lot easier, it has freed up a lot of space that work used to take from us and it also boosted entertainment a great deal of times.
Yet, at the same time, artificial intelligence has made our evolution a lot slower and we have come to rely on it very much. Our lives are practically dominated by smartphones and computers, we indulge in laziness and forget how to do things which we could perform very well a few years ago. In short, artificial intelligence gives us comfort, but at the price of laziness and inferiority.
Coming back to the matter of autonomous weapons, they do provide a wide range of advantages: they could drastically reduce war casualties, they could be more effective in combat and they could even be harder to destroy.
But we are going to enter the trust game soon after we deem them as positive additions to our society: they work well, so let’s allow some people to have them; then we’re going to let everyone have them; then we might even let them patrol the streets occasionally.
In the end we will accept them, thus we will accept to be controlled through them. The scientific community’s warning is understandable and, to a certain extent, quite caring. We must take a moment now and think: how far can we really go with AI?
Photo Credits wordpress.com