Yet another personality in the tech world has pronounced himself on the potential risks that developments in artificial intelligence will potentially bring. Elon Musk, a technology genius, visionary and investor behind PayPal and Tesla, has tweeted about the danger of artificial intelligence.

Once again, as in the article about Stephen Hawking’s warnings, it is important to mention that artificial intelligence is already there – we see numerous types of learning algorithms in machine translation engines, search engines, knowledge databases and speech recognition tools. Should we be afraid of Siri or Google Now? Possibly not.

It is true that “superintelligence” referred to by Elon Musk (discussing a book by Nick Bostrom)[1] is something that can be scary as anything that humanity has never seen or faced before. It is also dangerous because it will be more intelligent than any human being and, thus, difficult to evaluate, or even understand. Still, these are human engineers that are developing the code for intelligent algorithms and these are human economists, technologists and lawyers who should be thing over the rules in order to framework these developments.

Fear of artificial intelligence development has become symbolic for 2014. Among all the technological specialists referring to the subject, books like James Barrat’s “Our Final Invention” or movies like “Transcendence” or “Her” – all these are showing the dark side of the subject. And again, it is not the only one.

Like people used to riding horses were afraid of the cars, we should not be stopping the progress. It is true that there are dangerous sides of artificial intelligence (there are in any invention – consider dynamite). They are dangerous because they are unknown and unregulated. And they should be considered in-depth by specialists when working on the intelligent machines or algorithms. And these sides should be explained to general users as well, not just shown as potentially monstrous issues.

We are already at the time when machines can perform calculations faster and better than human beings, when they operate without issues and are more reliable, and the progress will be going this way. Building strong frameworks for the usage of intelligent algorithms and making humanity benefiting from the convenience and ease they bring – this should be the main focus.

 



[1] James Vincent “Elon Musk says artificial intelligence is 'more dangerous than nukes'” for The Independent, August 5, 2014, available online http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/elon-musk-says-artificial-intelligence-is-more-dangerous-than-nukes-9648732.html, accessed on August 6, 2014