Hollywood frequently depicts in film dystopian futures where super-intelligent machines have overthrown humanity and now rule the planet. Directors, producers, and movie-goers aren’t the only ones worried about artificial intelligence and the future of humanity. Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and several other brilliant minds have also voiced concerns over AI. Billionaire Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, has recently clarified statements about his fear of AI. He isn’t afraid that AI might reprogram itself to view humanity as an enemy as is often depicted in film and literature. He’s worried at how the technology could be used as a weapon were it to fall into the wrong hands.
Three stages of artificial intelligence
To understand how AI could be used as a weapon, it’s helpful to understand the three stages of AI and where we are currently:
Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI). Currently, all of our artificial intelligence could be classified as ANI. In other words, we have machines that are capable of performing certain tasks much more efficiently than humans can.
Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). This is what most people envision when they think of AI. In this stage, AI would be capable of performing any intellectual task about as well as the average human.
Artificial Superintelligence (ASI). The idea of superintelligence is purely science fiction at this point but the day could come that AI exceeds the intelligence of humans in every way.
AI as a weapon
If AI reaches the point of ASI, or even AGI, it could be a powerful weapon in the wrong hands. Musk, and others, have stressed the importance of the democratization of AI so that it is kept out of the wrong hands.
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