The fear that artificial intelligence could harm humanity in the future is ridiculous! It has already been harming us for years. It has also been doing us a lot of good.
As a computer scientist trying to explain AI to laymen, I believe the author David Foster Wallace did it best in a commencement address at Kenyon College.
“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”
If you are connected to the internet, you are already swimming in an ocean of AI. It suggests products you didn’t know you wanted on Amazon. It chooses the next YouTube you will watch. It may have shaped your politics, by keeping you in a bubble of your own extreme views.
Should we `be scared of AI? Hell, yes!
According to the UN, Facebook played a “determining role” in the 2016 Rohingya genocide that killed 25,000 in Myanmar. And how does information propagate on Facebook? AI driven algorithms.
Should we be hopeful about AI? Hell, yes!
AI is profoundly benefitting fields as diverse as healthcare, customer service and manufacturing. We must be proactive to both reap AI’s benefits and protect ourselves from its evils.
Should we turn AI over to the politicians to manage? Hell, no!
They are working on way more important issues such as which bathrooms people should use and preventing space lasers from causing wildfires.
Should we abandon AI to the Russians, Chinese and millions of teenage basement-dwelling computer gamers? Hell, no!
Should we regulate AI? Impossible!
The genie has been decanted. It would be like regulating the weather.
However, even though we can’t regulate weather, we have a national weather service to warn us of threatening events like tornadoes and hurricanes.
Why not a national AI service (powered by AI, of course) to warn us of upcoming AI disasters? But what would we call such an agency? I asked ChatGPT for a clever acronym, and after a brief dialog it came up with:
“RISKS – Robotics and Intelligent Systems Knowledge and Safety”
Written by Sam Savage, reposted with the permission of the author.