Artificial intelligence could cause human extinction says expert
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Mo Gawdat, who joined the tech giant in 2007, has shed new light on Google’s mysterious research branch in a candid new interview. According to the Silicon Valley guru, researchers could be on track to develop the sort of artificial intelligence that has terrified filmgoers since 1991’s Terminator 2. During his stint at Google, Mr Gawdat served as the Chief Business Officer for Google’s secretive research and development facility known then as Google X.
The Egyptian-born entrepreneur was struck by a terrifying revelation about the future of AI after witnessing an eerie moment in the firm’s R&D labs.
The epiphany came after he saw AI developers collaborating with Google X on dexterous robotic arms.
After what he described as slow progress, he witnessed one day a robotic arm reach down and pick up a ball, which it then displayed to the researchers.
Even more eerily, Mr Gawdat claimed every single arm could replicate the manoeuvre and after another two days, the arms could pick up just about anything.
Speaking to The Times, he said: “And I suddenly realised, this is really scary.
“Like we had those things for a week. And they’re doing what children will take two years to do.
“And then it hit me that they are children. But very, very fast children.”
The key difference, he argued, is machines even at a very basic level of intelligence have the potential to learn incredibly quickly.
He added: “The reality is, we’re creating God.”
Artificial intelligence will ‘hack into the matrix’ warns expert
When Terminator 2: Judgment Day hit the silver screens in 1991, the film envisioned a dark, post-apocalyptic future in which smart machines ruled the Earth.
In the film, rogue artificial intelligence, known as Skynet, has overthrown its human masters and waged a deadly war to wipe humans off the face of the planet.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator character famously says in the film: “Three billion human lives ended on August 29, 1997.
“The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day.
“They lived only to face a new nightmare: the war against the machines.”
A similarly grim scenario was explored in the Matrix franchise, which saw intelligent machines enslave humans in a computer simulation.
According to Mr Gawdat, AI has the potential to reach so-called technological singularity – the point at which it becomes uncontrollable and irreversible.
In the case of intelligent machines, this means AI could eclipse humanity and escape our control.
And Mr Gawdat is not the only tech guru sounding the alarm bells on rogue AI.
Elon Musk has famously used his platform to warn about the dangers associated with Ai development.
Last year he claimed it would take AI less than five years to overtake humanity.
He said: “My assessment about why AI is overlooked by very smart people is that very smart people do not think a computer can ever be as smart as they are. And this is hubris and obviously false.
“We’re headed toward a situation where AI is vastly smarter than humans and I think that time frame is less than five years from now.”
He has also expressed his fears about the line between AI and human consciousness becoming increasingly blurred before the end of the century.
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