The Guardian view on artificial intelligence: look out, it’s ahead of you

A monk comes face to face with his robot counterpart called Xian’er at a Buddhist temple on the outskirts of Beijing. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters Google artificial intelligence project DeepMind is building software to trawl through millions of patient records from three NHS hospitals to detect early signs of kidney disease. The project raises deep questions not only about data protection but about the ethics of artificial intelligence. But these are not the obvious questions about the ethics of autonomous, intelligent computers. Computer programs can now do some things that it once seemed only human beings could do, such as playing an excellent game of Go. But even the smartest computer cannot make ethical choices, because it has no purpose of its own in life. The program that plays Go cannot…


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