Black, white and gray: multiple approaches to Artificial Intelligence


American author Dan Brown’s latest work Origin talks about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the power it can wield. Multiple books and movies such as The Terminator, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and others have over the years played on a deep-rooted fear of AI. Artificial Intelligence has often been portrayed as something that the world needs to fear.

There are multiple views on AI, and many entrepreneurs, business leaders, and scientists have maintained their own view on it. From some calling it outright dangerous to others looking at it as something that will change how we live, here are some views on it from across the board:

AI is dangerous

Leaders like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking have been vocal in their opinion on AI. They look at it as a technology that poses serious danger if not managed properly. There are a few others that subscribe to this viewpoint as well:

“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race….It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.” – Stephen Hawking, Theoretical Physicist, Cosmologist, and Author

“I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I were to guess like what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful with the artificial intelligence. Increasingly scientists think there should be some regulatory oversight maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out.” – Elon Musk, Founder, Tesla

Two sides of the coin

Then there are others who believe that there are two sides to the coin. In the case of AI, we have to be aware of its potential to do good along with its potential to damage humans and our lives.

“Like many other arguments, both sides are correct. It could be the greatest thing ever. I really do believe that, if we could eliminate a huge percentage of human suffering with AI. I also believe there will be downsides. Any super powerful technology is good and bad.” – Sam Altman, President, Y-Combinator and Open AI

“First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.” – Bill Gates, Founder, Microsoft

“In the coming decades I expect robots to become as smart as a mouse, then a rabbit, then a dog, and finally a monkey. At that point who knows? Perhaps by the end of the century, it could be dangerous. Not now. In which case, I think we should put a chip in their brains to shut them off. The conclusion is we have time, we have time in which to deal with robots as they gradually, slowly become more intelligent.” – Dr. Michio Kaku, Theoretical Physicist, Harvard University

Ultimately, it’s the future

Many feel that AI is here to stay, it will not be taking over our jobs and livelihoods, and we do not need to fear a world overrun by AI.

“Artificial intelligence would be the ultimate version of Google. The ultimate search engine that would understand everything on the web. It would understand exactly what you wanted, and it would give you the right thing. We’re nowhere near doing that now. However, we can get incrementally closer to that, and that is basically what we work on.” – Larry Page, Co-founder, Google

“I have pretty strong opinions on this. I’m really optimistic. I’m an optimistic person in general. I think you can build things and the world gets better. With AI especially, I’m really optimistic and I think that people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios...I don’t understand it. It’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it’s pretty irresponsible.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Facebook

“Artificial intelligence will reach human levels by around 2029. Follow that out further to, say, 2045, we will have multiplied the intelligence, the human biological machine intelligence of our civilization a billion-fold.” – Ray Kurzweil, Futurist, Pioneer in advancement of AI in the 1990s

“I am telling you, the world’s first trillionaires are going to come from somebody who masters AI and all its derivatives and applies it in ways we never thought of.” – Mark Cuban, Entrepreneur and Investor

“AI is what is spearheading the real-time data analytics and pattern recognition revolution. It will have a positive impact on industry. But, it will transform industry with new jobs because one can serve customers better with data. Outcomes will no longer be driven by blind sales targets; sales processes will be tied to data. It will create jobs rather than take jobs away.” – Glenn Gore, Chief Architect, Amazon Web Services

AI as a technology is powerful, with unlimited potential to change the way we live and do things. But like in everything else momentous, there has to be moderation and caution, for too much of anything is never good.


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