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Preventing an AI Apocalypse

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16.05.2018

NEW YORK – Recent advances in artificial intelligence have been nothing short of dramatic. AI is transforming nearly every sector of society, from transportation to medicine to defense. So it is worth considering what will happen when it becomes even more advanced than it already is.

May 10, 2018 Barry Eichengreen questions the long-term appeal of China's authoritarian political model to other developing countries.

May 10, 2018 Nouriel Roubini argues that the creation of new cryptocurrencies is almost entirely intended for malign purposes.

May 8, 2018 Joseph E. Stiglitz praises the country as a beacon of Enlightenment values in an increasingly troubled world.

The apocalyptic view is that AI-driven machines will outsmart humanity, take over the world, and kill us all. This scenario crops up often in science fiction, and it is easy enough to dismiss, given that humans remain firmly in control. But many AI experts take the apocalyptic perspective seriously, and they are right to do so. The rest of society should as well.

To understand what is at stake, consider the distinction between “narrow AI” and “artificial general intelligence” (AGI). Narrow AI can operate only in one or a few domains at a time, so while it may outperform humans in select tasks, it remains under human control.

AGI, by contrast, can reason across a wide range of domains, and thus could replicate many human intellectual skills, while retaining all of the advantages........

© Project Syndicate