It seems you can’t open a newspaper without Elon Muskpredicting that artificial intelligence (AI) needs regulating – before it starts World War III. And if it’s not Elon, its Vladimir telling us AI will rule the world.
I’m starting to feel like I’m a very dangerous guy. That’s because I’m a professor of artificial intelligence.
There was a time, 20 years back, when people just smiled at me when I told them I was working on building intelligent machines. And I knew that smile was one of sympathy. Back then, AI was simply so hopeless.
But now, as AI begins to make some progress, people seem to live in fear of the next thing that will emerge from AI labs across the world.
Or perhaps we run into some engineering limits. Did you know that Moore’s Law is officially dead? Intel is no longer looking to double transistor count every 18 months.
But even if we do get to the singularity, machines don’t have any consciousness, any sentience. They have no desires or goals other than the ones that we give them.
AlphaGo isn’t going to wake up tomorrow and decide humans are useless at Go, and instead opt to win some money at online poker. And it is certainly not going to wake up and decide to take over the planet. It’s not in its code.
All AlphaGo will ever do is maximise one number: its estimate for the probability it will win the current game of Go. Indeed, it doesn’t even know that it is playing Go.