This is why we need to stop treating machines like ‘digital pets’
Computer science professor Rohan Sharma is worried that artificial intelligence will be used for profit in the future.
Speaking at the UK’s Future of Human, he told the audience at the Oxford Union that “AI will be a new technology for the rich”.”AI is a powerful tool for profit.
It can be used to create wealth for those who are the richest and most powerful.””
If it’s going to be used as a tool for social justice, then it’s only natural that we’re going to see AI being used for a lot of nefarious purposes.”
He said that it was “a great opportunity” for companies to develop artificial intelligence to “improve their own bottom lines”, adding: “What we have to realise is that we need AI in a world that’s changing, where it is being used to make more money for the most powerful individuals in the world.”
He went on to state that “we are in a very precarious time”, adding that “there’s a lot at stake”.
“We’re in a period of rapid change,” he said.
“We are moving towards the dawn of the Singularity, where we’re starting to see machines replace humans in a huge range of tasks, from the healthcare to the media, to education and transportation.”
Sharma also explained that while there were some positive outcomes, there was a “dangerous path” of “big corporations and big governments” being able to “manipulate” the world’s digital creatures.
He said: “If you can get AI to do something good, you’re not doing AI well.
You’re making AI a tool that can be exploited to make profit.”
He also warned that “big data” was not a “safe” place for AI, saying: “Big data is a danger for the future of our species, not only for the benefit of corporations but for the detriment of the human race as well.”
He added that “digital pets” could also be a threat to humanity, saying “we have the ability to manipulate digital animals, to change them to suit our own purposes.”
“We need to avoid making AI too big, because we can’t control AI too well.”