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‘A Cockroach Trying to Grasp Human Desires:’ 6 Unsettling Things Experts Have Said About AI in 2023

Artificial intelligence has indeed started to revolutionise our lives, but beneath its transformative facade lie concerns that experts can’t ignore. From disinformation campaigns to existential threats, here are six chilling warnings from notable figures in the tech world and academia.

Geoff Hinton says AI has a very different intelligence than we do

Geoff Hinton, a pioneer in artificial intelligence research also known as the ‘Godfather of AI’, told the BBC that the intelligence we’re developing with AI is “very different from the intelligence we have.” He explained that as digital rather than biological systems, AI has vastly greater data processing capacities. He also warned this could be misused by “bad actors” in the future.

Hinton, who previously worked at Google left the company to warn others about the risks of the technology. “I left so that I could talk about the dangers of AI without considering how this impacts Google,” he tweeted in May.

James Barrat says AI could be uncontrollable and incomprehensible

James Barrat – American documentary filmmaker, speaker, and author of the nonfiction book ‘Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence’ – speaking at the Digital Bridge 2023 conference in Kazakhstan, painted a stark picture of the threat posed by advanced AI systems. He said super-intelligent machines could eventually be “millions of times smarter than humans, making them uncontrollable and incomprehensible.” Barrat chillingly compared it to “a cockroach trying to grasp human desires.”

Yuval Noah Harari argues AI has hacked human civilisation

In an article in The Economist in May, bestselling author Yuval Noah Harari behind books like ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,’ argued AI has “hacked” the operating system of human civilisation. He warned that AI’s mastery of language could allow it to form intimate relationships with people and influence their worldviews. Harari cited the controversial case of the Google engineer who lost his job after claiming an AI chatbot had become sentient.

Sam Altman warns about mass disinformation campaigns

Sam Altman, the now-ousted CEO of OpenAI, told ABC News in March that he is “particularly worried that these models could be used for large-scale disinformation.” With AI’s ability to generate believable text, Altman fears it could be used to spread propaganda and sway elections. “Now that they’re getting better at writing computer code, [they] could be used for offensive cyber-attacks,” he said. However, Altman acknowledged the technology’s potential benefits, calling it “the greatest humanity has yet developed.”

Sarah Myers West believes AI is worsening inequality

Sarah Myers West, Managing Director of the AI Now Institute, told Euronews Next in February that in many ways, we’re already seeing AI being used to worsen “longstanding patterns of inequality.” She said AI systems are deployed in sensitive decision-making processes with little oversight, and this is “exactly what’s animating the drive to look at policy approaches to shape the direction that it takes.”

Top CEOs believe AI could destroy humanity soon

A survey of CEOs at the Yale CEO Summit revealed 42% believe AI could potentially destroy humanity in the next 5-10 years. Yale professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld called the finding “pretty dark and alarming.” While 58% were not worried about AI ending civilisation, the sharp divide in perspectives shows how uncertain the future impacts of artificial intelligence remain. The rapid progress in AI capabilities has opened up amazing possibilities, but also unpredictable risks. As the technology advances, we may find machine intelligence taking on forms we can hardly imagine today. That is why leading experts are advocating for urgent conversations about how to ensure AI is developed safely and responsibly.

Source: The Indian Express