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Artificial Intelligence Could Wipe Out Humanity, Stephen Hawking Warns

Oct 28, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
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Artificial intelligence could cause the biggest affliction to the entire human civilization, with the potential to outstrip all the advantages it comes with if left unmanaged. This was the powerful statement made by renowned scientist Stephen Hawking on Wednesday at a new AI research center at Cambridge University in London, as reported by US News & World Report. Companies are now purely focused on developing artificial-based intelligence systems that can imitate human behavior.

The potential benefits of AI are huge, and no one can predict what humans might achieve when their minds get amplified by AI, said Hawking. The tools can definitely help to undo some of the damages that have already occurred besides eradicating poverty and disease, he added.

Besides the huge number of benefits, AI can also pose threat to the society, such as powerful autonomous weapons or new techniques for the few to subdue the many, explained Hawking. James Clapper, U.S. director of National Intelligence, had made a similar statement in February where he highlighted the concern of AI in many ways, such as cyber attacks, and asked everyone to take it seriously. In his report to Congress, Clapper had stated that although the U.S. heads the list in the field of AI research, many other countries' research on AI is growing at a rapid pace.

Hawking's new research center will study the negative aspects of AI like massive economic disruption if AI robots start taking over tasks that are currently done by millions of people. Clapper wrote about the effects of widespread AI deployment in his paper like increasing vulnerability to cyber attacks, risk of accidents, problems in ascertaining attribution, and unemployment among others.

In the past, AI had caused fluctuations in the stock market because of false data and unexpected algorithm behaviors, wrote Clapper. However, neither Clapper nor Hawking has addressed the details of the day of reckoning.

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