Two of the giants of the technology community, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, have differing opinions on the future of artificial intelligence. According to The Atlantic, Elon Musk claims that the development of AI will result in the fall of humans, and he demands for organizations to make changes. He says “until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react.” Mark Zuckerberg accuses Elon Musk’s negativity to be unwarranted and irresponsible. Both billionaires have extreme experience with technology, but do not specialize in the study of AI. Whether their announcements are just for attention or not, the imminent rise of artificial intelligence is something to consider.

Most tend to side with optimism. Although the potential of artificial intelligence can be ominous, as of now all the negative aspects are no more than science fiction. AI is not as developed at the moment as most believe it to be. Furthermore, it has a long way to go until it is comparable to human intelligence. Alternet compares AI to E. coli in order to show the lacking sophistication of the technology. Unlike AI, though, bacteria are autonomous. They locomote, consume and proliferate all on their own. They exercise true agency in the world. Accordingly, to be more precise, we should say that bacteria are more than just autonomous, they’re autopoietic, self-made. Despite their structural complexity, they require no human intervention or otherwise to evolve.” Bacterium are some of the most basic living things, but are still much too complex for humans to replicate. “Our bodies consist of 10 trillion eukaryotic cells working in concert with 100 trillion non-human guest cells.” If we are unable to match the complexity of a single bacteria, a human equivalent would be centuries away.

Artificial intelligence is coded with human intelligence. Therefore, human values and ethics will be reflected in the technology. Those weary of AI fear that the program’s goals will not align with our own. The code which creates it restricts this possibility. Also, AI becoming self aware and destructive towards humans is far-fetched. “For any AI to become self-aware, it would have to become other-aware, since the self has no meaning outside of a social context. And to properly socialize in this way, our hypothetical AI entity would require a body beyond the circuits that comprise the internal environs of computers. Like brains, AI can’t know itself without interacting with others in the world through a body.” Artificial intelligence is growing, as is becoming more and more a helpful companion for human intelligence.

Of course, the opinion all depends on one’s personal definition of ‘intelligence’. It is hard to describe it concretely. Merriam-Webster says that intelligence is (1) : the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations : reason; also  : the skilled use of reason (2) : the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (such as tests)”. It can be argued that AI has the ability to gain information and apply that to situations. However, as of yet, there is a lack of ability for AI to apply the information in creative and human ways.

There is no doubt that artificial intelligence will play a big role in the future of human development. It can be applied to many occupations and provide assistance in ways humans cannot. However, there is little reason to think that AI will ever become more than this. AI and humans can cooperate in business. A doomsday scenario where an AI machine becomes self-aware and rules the world has certain limitations of feasibility. Still, we should exercise caution and consider the advice of those like Elon Musk, just in case.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 The Future of AI by Sam is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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