PNothing to Fear
In his first inaugural address, Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself.” In most cases this is correct. But that attitude does not mean we toss away caution. It also does not mean we blindly leap into the world of technology and do whatever we want.
This is the point the late Professor Stephen Hawking may have been making with his comments about the fear of Artificial Intelligence (AI). His remarks may be labeled as alarmist by those who want to usher in a human-less society, but that would be an exaggeration of those comments.
Professor Stephen Hawking only wanted people to be cautious as they explore the world of contributions AI can bring to civilization.
A Warning or a Fear
The late Dr. Hawking has publicly stated that he is afraid that AI would eventually free itself from any restraint and develop into a separate, independent life form. That type of thinking may be more emotional than rational or logical. A rational mind would see that non-life form cannot develop into a life form no matter how many algorithms it has working for it.
Life does not come from non-life and life also does not come from those who do not possess the power to grant it. Yet Dr. Hawking’s warning should not be taken lightly. Scientists should not blindly invent AI to ‘take over’ all the jobs humans can do now.
Instead, they should proceed with eyes wide open and see where AI can benefit the humans who invent them. This is being done but it is also being overshadowed by those who are influenced by the possibilities AI brings to society.
Their blind cheerleading is throwing caution to the wind
The Positive Contribution
Dr. Hawking was a great example of one of the positive contributions AI is making on society today. His AI voice allowed him to communicate to his students and peers for 30 years.
But that is not all AI can bring to society. The article “On Stephen Hawking’s Complex Connection to Artificial Intelligence”, by Ana Santos Rutschman, lists numerous medical contributions made by artificial intelligence.
The program called Deep Patient work with doctors to help them find medical issues not visible to them. These two examples are a drop in the bucket where AI could positively contribute to society. Without bringing any of the fear with it.
Professor Stephen Hawking called for more studies on the benefits and dangers of using AI technology. Unfortunately for him, we already know the possibilities of those benefits and dangers. More studies will not do anything except tell us what we already know.
If more studies are employed, then their focus needs to be redirected. That focus should target the humans behind the development of AI. The vulnerability of AI is the human behind the machine.
These studies should identify and address those vulnerabilities and keep the human developer from using AI for any nefarious schemes. It doesn’t take long for the criminal element to find a purpose for an invention shortly after the good people have it.