Is AI a Threat to Humanity?

With the likes of Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and other leading thinkers expressingtheir doubts about AI (Artificial Intelligence), it makes sense to ponder over the question whether AI can be a threat to human existence. Some experts say that humans have to be very stupid to be threatened by AI whereas others say that humans have to be very smart to prevent being wiped out by AI. So, are we stupid or smart? Well, going by our past history, it seems that we are a bit of both. This makes it even tougher to answer the original question. These arguments clearly show that there is no clarity, as yet, about the question whether AI is a threat to humanity. However, there are some things that can provide a glimpse of potential future. If you feel threatened by AI, here’s what you need to know.

Human mind is ingenious: The current AI systems can only perform well in areas where mathematical computations are involved. When faced with things that cannot be expressed mathematically, AI systems start giving errors. This is why we see certain AI systems defeating humans in Chess and Go whereas other AI systems causing accidents on the road. The human mind on the other hand is programmed to be ingenious, which allows us to deal with previously unknown problems and challenges. Till the time ingenuity can be worked out mathematically and used as a program, humans will retain their superiority over AI.

Failsafe: We have a failsafe mechanism for most things we create. For example, the computer shuts down when it crosses its thermal limit. The motor shuts down when there’s a heavy load. So, it’s likely that when we create super intelligent beings, we would have a failsafe mechanism for dealing with potential problems such as rogue AI, system malfunction, hacker attacks, etc. It’s actually very lame to think that we will just let AI loose and let it do whatever it wants to.

AI-human integration: Some experts believe that rather than having separate existences, humans and AI will merge to create super-intelligent beings. We are already seeing specialized microchips being implanted into humans, which are allowing them to see and hear. This technology is expected to evolve to a level where AI can be merged with humans. This appears to be the middle path, where AI and humans can work together to create a better future.

As can be seen from above factors, AI may not actually be a threat to humanity. Unless, of course we mess up something big that transforms AI into a monster. Apart from that possibility, AI appears to be just another tool that will help humanity to do more, explore more and prosper.

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