Artificial concerns?

Earlier this year, the American Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) awarded their facetious ‘annual Luddite award’ to a lose coalition of AI sceptics, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk and renown physicist Stephen Hawking. The ITIF labelled the likes of Musk and Hawking ‘alarmists’ engaged in and “feverish hand-wringing about a looming artificial intelligence apocalypse”. Yet the sarcastic gesture did not go down well. This week Nature published a scathing critique of the ITIF’s ‘fanciful futurism’, defending the ‘legitimate concerns’ of Musk and Hawking. “Machines and robots that outperform humans across the board could self-improve beyond our control — and their interests might not align with ours. This extreme scenario, which cannot be discounted, is what captures most popular attention. But it is misleading to dismiss all concerns as worried…


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