Recently, Putin spoke to students, explaining that the nation that leads in AI ‘will rule the world ‘. The Russian president knows that AI will provide incredible benefits to society as well as tricky challenges and dangers.
Artificial Intelligence is by far humanity’s most powerful Technology. The transition to a machine intelligence era would rank among the most important transitions in history. One can affirm that AI is now a national security concern. US and China are the frontrunners, with China trying to catch up and even beat all companies in the US and Europe. China’s ambition is to become the global leader in AI research by 2030. I believe that this is not wishful thinking as the Trump administration prepares to cut funding for science and tech research.
Putin said that “Artificial Intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind” – “It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict”. Nobody can disapprove these statements, AI will provide great benefits for human health and longevity, but also scientific breakthroughs, space exploration, entertainment and many other (climate change as an example).
Artificial Intelligence will drive all other Technology such as life extension medicine, surveillance and lethal autonomous weapons. My belief is that AI isn’t a threat itself but could enhance other threats and thus cause a potential existential risk to humanity. Not surprisingly, AI will be used in warfare to develop cyber weapons and control autonomous tools like a drone.
Putin predicted that future wars would be fought by countries using drones: “When one party’s drones are destroyed by drones of another, it will have no other choice but to surrender”. As you can imagine, it could pose a risk to Humanity.
This is the reason why Elon Musk and other 116 other Technology leaders sent a petition to the United Nations to stop the development of lethal autonomous weapons (“killer robots”).
“Once developed, [autonomous weapons] will permit armed conflict to be fought on a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend,” write the signatories. “These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.”
The stakes of this AI Race are very high, and one can affirm that the winners will reap a world of money, prestige, and power. As we’ve seen, developing Artificial Intelligence comes with a lot of ethical questions. Obviously, AI should only be developed in the service of widely shared ethical ideals and for the benefits of all humanity rather than one state or organization.
If you want to know more about the dangers of AI and why it should be regulated, I explain it all for you in this video:
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