Rise Of The Machines: Has Technology Evolved Beyond Our Control?

The fear is that as computer power increases, and the artificial intelligence becomes too smart, we could lose control. It’s not too much of a leap to envisage a situation where insurance companies will use AI just to ensure those who are healthy. Artificial intelligence will also revolutionise industries and fundamentally change society, resulting in a range of companies either adapting or going out of business. If we end up with a majority of cars driving themselves, what will happen to the car insurance industry? As AI develops, Hemant Taneja from General Catalyst argues that we should build products that understand the impact from the beginning, “If we knew that the combustion engine would lead to serious air pollution, we would probably have included the environmental cost of carbon into the price of the car”. But that supposes we can actually predict the ultimate outcome. Elon Musk has warned, “The biggest issue I see with so-called AI experts is that they think they know more than they do, and they think they are smarter than they actually are. This tends to plague smart people. They define themselves by their intelligence and they don’t like the idea that a machine could be way smarter than them, so they discount the idea – which is fundamentally flawed.” Zuckerberg countered this argument, saying Musk was being irresponsible, and adding that “in the next five to 10 years, AI is going to deliver so many improvements in the quality of our lives.” We measure the capacity of robots and AI based upon our perception of what is possible. We cannot yet see beyond our own limited thinking. Maybe Zuckerberg is right and robots could solve major problems for society. Conversely, Musk’s view – while potentially alarmist or defeatist – may prove right. What if the artificial intelligence becomes so smart we cannot control it? Credit: Marty Drill for Get Started, 6 April 2018.

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