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Pros and Cons of Artificial Intelligence


From SIRI to self-driving cars, artificial intelligence (AI) is progressing rapidly. While science fiction often portrays AI as robots with human-like characteristics, AI can encompass anything from Google’s search algorithms to IBM’s Watson to autonomous weapons.

Artificial intelligence today is properly known as narrow AI (or weak AI), in that it is designed to perform a narrow task (e.g. only facial recognition or only internet searches or only driving a car). However, the long-term goal of many researchers is to create general AI (AGI or strong AI). While narrow AI may outperform humans at whatever its specific task is, like playing chess or solving equations, AGI would outperform humans at nearly every cognitive task.


In the near term, the goal of keeping AI’s impact on society beneficial motivates research in many areas, from economics and law to technical topics such as verification, validity, security, and control. Whereas it may be little more than a minor nuisance if your laptop crashes or gets hacked, it becomes all the more important that an AI system does what you want it to do if it controls your car, your airplane, your pacemaker, your automated trading system or your power grid. Another short-term challenge is preventing a devastating arms race in lethal autonomous weapons.

In the long term, an important question is what will happen if the quest for strong AI succeeds and an AI system becomes better than humans at all cognitive tasks. As pointed out by I.J. Good in 1965, designing smarter AI systems is itself a cognitive task. Such a system could potentially undergo recursive self-improvement, triggering an intelligence explosion leaving human intellect far behind. By inventing revolutionary new technologies, such a superintelligence might help us eradicate war, disease, and poverty, and so the creation of strong AI might be the biggest event in human history. Some experts have expressed concern, though, that it might also be the last unless we learn to align the goals of the AI with ours before it becomes superintelligent.

There are some who question whether strong AI will ever be achieved, and others who insist that the creation of superintelligent AI is guaranteed to be beneficial. At FLI we recognize both of these possibilities, but also recognize the potential for an artificial intelligence system to intentionally or unintentionally cause great harm. We believe research today will help us better prepare for and prevent such potentially negative consequences in the future, thus enjoying the benefits of AI while avoiding pitfalls.


Most researchers agree that a super-intelligent AI is unlikely to exhibit human emotions like love or hate and that there is no reason to expect AI to become intentionally benevolent or malevolent. Instead, when considering how AI might become a risk, experts think two scenarios most likely:

The AI is programmed to do something devastating: Autonomous weapons are artificial intelligence systems that are programmed to kill. In the hands of the wrong person, these weapons could easily cause mass casualties. Moreover, an AI arms race could inadvertently lead to an AI war that also results in mass casualties. To avoid being thwarted by the enemy, these weapons would be designed to be extremely difficult to simply “turn off,” so humans could plausibly lose control of such a situation. This risk is one that’s present even with narrow AI but grows as levels of AI intelligence and autonomy increase.

The AI is programmed to do something beneficial, but it develops a destructive method for achieving its goal: This can happen whenever we fail to fully align the AI’s goals with ours, which is strikingly difficult. If you ask an obedient intelligent car to take you to the airport as fast as possible, it might get you there chased by helicopters and covered in vomit, doing not what you wanted but literally what you asked for. If a superintendent system is tasked with an ambitious geoengineering project, it might wreak havoc with our ecosystem as a side effect, and view human attempts to stop it as a threat to be met.

As these examples illustrate, the concern about advanced AI isn’t malevolence but competence. A super-intelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we have a problem. You’re probably not an evil ant-hater who steps on ants out of malice, but if you’re in charge of a hydroelectric green energy project and there’s an anthill in the region to be flooded, too bad for the ants. A key goal of AI safety research is to never place humanity in the position of those ants.


Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, and many other big names in science and technology have recently expressed concern in the media and via open letters about the risks posed by AI, joined by many leading AI researchers. Why is the subject suddenly in the headlines?

The idea that the quest for strong AI would ultimately succeed was long thought of as science fiction, centuries or more away. However, thanks to recent breakthroughs, many AI milestones, which experts viewed as decades away merely five years ago, have now been reached, making many experts take seriously the possibility of super-intelligence in our lifetime. While some experts still guess that human-level AI is centuries away, most AI researches at the 2015 Puerto Rico Conference guessed that it would happen before 2060. Since it may take decades to complete the required safety research, it is prudent to start it now.

Because AI has the potential to become more intelligent than any human, we have no surefire way of predicting how it will behave. We can’t use past technological developments as much of a basis because we’ve never created anything that has the ability to, wittingly or unwittingly, outsmart us. The best example of what we could face may be our own evolution. People now control the planet, not because we’re the strongest, fastest or biggest, but because we’re the smartest. If we’re no longer the smartest, are we assured to remain in control?

FLI’s position is that our civilization will flourish as long as we win the race between the growing power of technology and the wisdom with which we manage it. In the case of AI technology, FLI’s position is that the best way to win that race is not to impede the former, but to accelerate the latter, by supporting AI safety research.


A captivating conversation is taking place about the future of artificial intelligence and what it will/should mean for humanity. There are fascinating controversies where the world’s leading experts disagree, such as: AI’s future impact on the job market; if/when human-level AI will be developed; whether this will lead to an intelligence explosion; and whether this is something we should welcome or fear. But there are also many examples of of boring pseudo-controversies caused by people misunderstanding and talking past each other. To help ourselves focus on the interesting controversies and open questions — and not on the misunderstandings — let’s  clear up some of the most common myths.

Read more - Introduction to Artificial Intelligence


The first myth regards the timeline: how long will it take until machines greatly supersede human-level intelligence? A common misconception is that we know the answer with great certainty.

One popular myth is that we know we’ll get superhuman AI this century. In fact, history is full of technological over-hyping. Where are those fusion power plants and flying cars we were promised we’d have by now? AI has also been repeatedly over-hyped in the past, even by some of the founders of the field. For example, John McCarthy (who coined the term “artificial intelligence”), Marvin Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester and Claude Shannon wrote this overly optimistic forecast about what could be accomplished during two months with stone-age computers: “We propose that a 2 month, 10 man study of artificial intelligence be carried out during the summer of 1956 at Dartmouth College […] An attempt will be made to find how to make machines use language, form abstractions and concepts, solve kinds of problems now reserved for humans, and improve themselves. We think that a significant advance can be made in one or more of these problems if a carefully selected group of scientists work on it together for a summer.”

Then again, a well known counter-fantasy is that we realize we won't get superhuman AI this century. Specialists have made a wide scope of assessments for how far we are from superhuman AI, yet we surely can't state with extraordinary certainty that the likelihood is zero this century, given the horrid reputation of such techno-cynic forecasts. For instance, Ernest Rutherford, apparently the best atomic physicist of his time, said in 1933 — under 24 hours before Szilard's innovation of the atomic chain response — that atomic vitality was "home brew." And Astronomer Royal Richard Woolly called interplanetary travel "articulate bilge" in 1956. The most extraordinary type of this legend is that superhuman AI will never show up on the grounds that it's genuinely inconceivable. In any case, physicists realize that a mind comprises of quarks and electrons masterminded to go about as a ground-breaking PC, and that there's no law of material science keeping us from building much progressively smart quark masses.

There have been various reviews asking AI analysts how long from now they think we'll have human-level AI with in any event half likelihood. Every one of these studies have a similar end: the world's driving specialists dissent, so we essentially don't have a clue. For instance, in such a survey of the AI scientists at the 2015 Puerto Rico AI gathering, the normal (middle) answer was by year 2045, however a few analysts speculated several years or more.

There's additionally a related legend that individuals who stress over AI believe it's just a couple of years away. Truth be told, a great many people on record stressing over superhuman AI get it's still at any rate decades away. Be that as it may, they contend that insofar as we're not 100% sure that it won't occur this century, it's shrewd to begin security research presently to plan for the inevitability. A significant number of the wellbeing issues related with human-level AI are difficult to such an extent that they may take a very long time to fathom. So it's judicious to begin investigating them now as opposed to the night prior to certain developers drinking Red Bull choose to turn one on.

Discussion MYTHS

Another regular misguided judgment is that the main individuals holding worries about AI and supporting AI security research are Luddites who don't think a lot about AI. At the point when Stuart Russell, writer of the standard AI course reading, referenced this during his Puerto Rico talk, the crowd chuckled noisily. A related misguided judgment is that supporting AI wellbeing research is immensely disputable. Truth be told, to help a humble interest in AI wellbeing research, individuals don't should be persuaded that dangers are high, only non-irrelevant — similarly as an unassuming interest in home protection is legitimized by a non-unimportant likelihood of the home burning to the ground.

It might be that media have made the AI wellbeing banter appear to be more disputable than it truly is. All things considered, dread sells, and articles utilizing outside the realm of relevance statements to announce up and coming fate can produce a bigger number of snaps than nuanced and adjusted ones. Accordingly, two individuals who just think about one another's situations from media cites are probably going to think they differ more than they truly do. For instance, a techno-cynic who just read about Bill Gates' situation in a British newspaper may erroneously think Gates accepts genius to be unavoidable. Thus, somebody in the useful AI development who thinks nothing about Andrew Ng's situation aside from his statement about overpopulation on Mars may erroneously contemplate AI security, though truth be told, he does. The essence is basically that since Ng's course of events gauges are longer, he normally will in general organize momentary AI challenges over long haul ones.


Numerous AI scientists feign exacerbation when seeing this feature: "Stephen Hawking cautions that ascent of robots might be shocking for humankind." And the same number of have lost tally of what number of comparative articles they've seen. Regularly, these articles are joined by an insidious looking robot conveying a weapon, and they propose we should stress over robots ascending and murdering us since they've gotten cognizant as well as malevolent. On a lighter note, such articles are entirely noteworthy, on the grounds that they briefly sum up the situation that AI specialists don't stress over. That situation consolidates upwards of three separate misinterpretations: worry about cognizance, malevolence, and robots.

On the off chance that you drive not far off, you have an emotional encounter of hues, sounds, and so forth. Be that as it may, does a self-driving vehicle have an emotional encounter? Does it feel like anything at all to be a self-driving vehicle? Despite the fact that this riddle of cognizance is fascinating in its own right, it's unessential to AI chance. On the off chance that you get struck by a driverless vehicle, it has no effect to you whether it abstractly feels cognizant. Similarly, what will influence us people is the thing that hyper-genius AI does, not how it abstractly feels.

The dread of machines turning fiendish is another distraction. The genuine concern isn't malignancy, yet ability. A hyper-genius AI is by definition truly adept at accomplishing its objectives, whatever they might be, so we have to guarantee that its objectives are lined up with our own. People don't by and large abhor ants, yet we're more clever than they are – so on the off chance that we need to construct a hydroelectric dam and there's an ant colony dwelling place there, not good enough for the ants. The advantageous AI development needs to abstain from setting humankind in the situation of those ants.

The awareness confusion is identified with the fantasy that machines can't have objectives. Machines can clearly have objectives in the tight feeling of displaying objective situated conduct: the conduct of a warmth looking for rocket is most financially disclosed as an objective to hit an objective. On the off chance that you feel undermined by a machine whose objectives are skewed with yours, at that point it is decisively its objectives in this thin sense inconveniences you, not whether the machine is cognizant and encounters a feeling of direction. On the off chance that that heat-chasing rocket were pursuing you, you most likely wouldn't shout: "I'm not stressed, on the grounds that machines can't have objectives!"

I identify with Rodney Brooks and different mechanical autonomy pioneers who feel unreasonably trashed by scaremongering tabloids, since certain columnists appear to be fanatically focused on robots and enhance a considerable lot of their articles with abhorrent looking metal beasts with red sparkly eyes. Actually, the primary worry of the valuable AI development isn't with robots yet with knowledge itself: explicitly, insight whose objectives are skewed with our own. To raise us ruckus, such skewed superhuman insight needs no automated body, only a web association – this may empower outmaneuvering monetary markets, out-imagining human scientists, out-controlling human pioneers, and creating weapons we can't comprehend. Regardless of whether building robots were truly unimaginable, a hyper-savvy and super-rich AI could without much of a stretch compensation or control numerous people to accidentally do its offering.

The robot misguided judgment is identified with the fantasy that machines can't control people. Insight empowers control: people control tigers not on the grounds that we are more grounded, but since we are more astute. This implies in the event that we surrender our situation as most intelligent on our planet, it's conceivable that we may likewise surrender control.


Not sitting around idly on the previously mentioned misguided judgments lets us center around evident and fascinating debates where even the specialists oppose this idea. What kind of future do you need? Would it be a good idea for us to create deadly independent weapons? What might you want to occur with work mechanization? What vocation counsel would you give the present children? Do you lean toward new openings supplanting the old ones, or a jobless society where everybody appreciates an existence of recreation and machine-created riches? Further not far off, okay like us to make incredibly smart life and spread it through our universe? Will we control smart machines or will they control us? Will astute machines supplant us, coincide with us, or converge with us? What will it intend to be human in the period of man-made reasoning? What might you like it to mean, and how might we cause the future to be that way? If you don't mind join the discussion!

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