In a scenario that seems like the premise of a TV show or superhero film, an institute that calls itself The Future of Life has been created to protect mankind from the pitfalls of artificial intelligence. Rest assured, ladies and gentlemen, if the machines try to kill us there are people out there working right now to try and stop that from happening.
An open letter from the institute has seen support from AI experts from all over the world. Of course the actual letter downplays nightmare scenarios, instead saying that articial intelligence has a lot of potential in bettering our lives thus research for its uses and drawbacks must continue. "Because of the great potential of AI, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls", puts it quite succinctly.
Onward, protectors of humanity
The letter does however come with a paper that outlines what pitfalls AI could have in future. As to the institute's founders, the most recognisable name is Jann Tallinn, a Skype co-founder. The other four are academics from MIT, Harvard University, UC Santa Cruz and Boston University.
Perusing the institute's scientific advisory board list, there are a few surprising names: actors Alan Alda and Morgan Freeman, to be exact. Not so surprising members are Stephen Hawking as well as Elon Musk, who accidentally revealed his own fear of AI's pitfalls not too long back.
Seeing the strong support from the scientific and academic community, it is slightly scary as it addresses the very real possibility of the dangers of artificial intelligence. This isn't fantasy, science fiction or Hollywood magic - without proper precautions, artificial intelligence could evolve into something we fear.
In hindsight, it is slightly disconcerting how drones have now become mainstream and no one blinks at the thought of robots doing our household chorse. Still, we can at least rest assured that some of the best minds in the world are worrying about AI on our behalf.
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