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No, the Robots Are Not Going to Rise Up and Kill You


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A T-600 Terminator from Warner Bros. Pictures action/sci-fi movie Terminator Salvation.

An IBM researcher says fears about artificial intelligence surpassing humans are overblown.

Credit: Richard Foreman

IBM researcher David Buchanan says worries about artificial intelligence (AI) surpassing humans in more existential ways are overblown.

Buchanan traces the recent wave of AI anxiety to what he sees as a common science fiction trope in which AI becomes conscious and decides "to kill us all." The main flaw in this trope is what Buchanan calls the "consciousness fallacy," the idea that the pursuit of AI technology will inevitable result in conscious AI. Buchanan says there is a vast gulf between "intelligence" as manifest in modern AI technology and "consciousness."

Buchanan says there is "still an enormous amount of work to do before we create comprehensive, human-caliber intelligence," and we are even further away from creating human-equivalent consciousness, in no small part because our understanding of consciousness is still very basic.

Buchanan also believes the development of conscious AI is unlikely because of a lack of business incentives. "Our AI tools are likely to continue to derive all of their root volition from us," Buchanan writes. "Your self-driving car will take you places you want to go and even make suggestions. But it won't argue, and when you're done with it, it will just sit in your garage, recharging."

From The Washington Post
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