Elon Musk’s doomsday predictions regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI) aren’t something Bill Gates believes in, making the Microsoft boss yet another sane voice in the world.
“This is a case where Elon and I disagree. The so-called control problem that Elon is worried about isn’t something that people should feel is imminent. We shouldn’t panic about,” Gates told WSJ Magazine Monday.
Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla and SpaceX, has been issuing warnings against Artificial Intelligence for many months now, predicting a very scary future where AIs will threaten human existence. His fears go further, saying there was going to be a global race for Artificial Intelligence which will cause the Third World War, although current fears lie more with the relationship between the USA and North Korea. In fact, Musk believes AI poses a greater risk than North Korea.
Needless to say, his opinions have been laughed about in the past. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg called Musk’s warnings “irresponsible,” while others have taken similar positions.
While the risks with any new type of technology exist, Artificial Intelligence, no matter how good it will become, will always depend on the human factor. Expert speakers during the ITBN conference in Budapest earlier this month expressed their hope that Artificial Intelligence will become more greatly used for the detection of cyber threats, but all admitted that AI will never be able to take over this job completely without human input simply because that’s not how this technology works.
Musk further fears that robots will be able to do everything better than humans. This, of course, may very well be true in some cases, like factory jobs and so on. But just as technology has made numerous jobs disappear thus far, it has also brought on new ones.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, was also present at the conversation. “The core AI principle that guides us at this stage is: How do we bet on humans and enhance their capability? There are still a lot of design decisions that get made, even in a self-learning system, that humans can be accountable for,” he said. “There’s a lot I think we can do to shape our own future instead of thinking, this is just going to happen to us. Control is a choice. We should try to keep that control.”
AI advances rapidly
Just recently, Google’s head of AI also slammed Musk for his predictions. John Giannadrea, senior vice president of engineering at Google, spoke at TechCrunch Disrupt SF earlier this month, where he said that he objects to the hype some people have been making. “I am definitely not worried about the AI apocalypse,” de said, making a point of not pronouncing Musk’s name. “Machine learning and artificial intelligence is extremely important and will revolutionize many vertical industries, and I am very excited by the progress we are making, but it is very practical and applied progress. And I think what we are doing is building tools, like, say, the Google Search engine, that make you more productive.”
Giannadreea further pointed out that this type of rhetoric is only going to make people who don’t understand the technology fear it, instead of focusing on the positive aspects. “Technology should augment the human intellect, not replace it.”