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Does Artificial Intelligence Pose a Threat?

AI-WSJ

A panel of experts discusses the prospect of machines capable of autonomous reasoning

Ted Greenwald writes: After decades as a sci-fi staple, artificial intelligence has leapt into the mainstream. Between Apple ’s Siri and Amazon ’s Alexa, IBM ’s Watson and Google Brain, machines that understand the world and respond productively suddenly seem imminent.
The combination of immense Internet-connected networks and machine-learning algorithms has yielded dramatic advances in machines’ ability to understand spoken and visual communications, capabilities that fall under the heading “narrow” artificial intelligence. Can machines capable of autonomous reasoning—so-called general AI—be far behind? And at that point, what’s to keep them from improving themselves until they have no need for humanity? Meka's M1 robot is one of the systems that has been acquired by Google The prospect has unleashed a wave of anxiety. “I think the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” astrophysicist Stephen Hawking told the BBC. Tesla founder Elon Musk called AI “our biggest existential threat.” Former Microsoft Chief Executive Bill Gates has voiced his agreement. How realistic are such concerns? And how urgent? We assembled a panel of experts from industry, research and policy-making to consider the dangers—if any—that lie ahead.

Taking part in the discussion are Jaan Tallinn, a co-founder of Skype and the think tanks Centre for the Study of Existential Risk and the Future of Life Institute; Guruduth S. Banavar, vice president of cognitive computing at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center; and Francesca Rossi, a professor of computer science at the University of Padua, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and president of the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence, the main international gathering of researchers in AI.

Here are edited excerpts from their conversation…(read more)

WSJ

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