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Bill Gates on AI doomsday: 'I don't understand why we aren't concerned'

 
 
 
 
 
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Artificial intelligence poses a real threat to humankind, Bill Gates warns, and he “does not understand” those who are not concerned with this notion. But Microsoft’s head of research, Eric Horvitz, says the fears are exaggerated.

Gates has joined the camp of experts like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk who believe that further development of artificial intelligence could endanger our civilization.

As someone who has been at the cutting edge of technological progress for the last 40 years, Gates was asked on his Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit about “machine superintelligence” posing an “existential threat” to us all.

His answer was as follows:

“I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence. First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that, though, the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.”

Gates opted not to answer the second part of the question, about whether “full end-to-end encryption for all internet activity can do anything to protect us from that (AI) threat.”

At the opposite end of the AI threat discussion is Microsoft Research’s chief, Eric Horvitz.

In an interview with the BBC, Horvitz said that artificial intelligence could really achieve consciousness, yet such self-awareness structures would not threaten humankind.

“I fundamentally don’t think that’s going to happen,” Horvitz said. “In the end, we’ll be able to get incredible benefits from machine intelligence in all realms of life, from science to education to economics to daily life.”

Horvitz, who leads a team of over 1,000 scientists and engineers, revealed that more than one-quarter of his unit’s resources are dedicated to artificial intelligence research.

A number of distinguished scientists and tech experts have spoken out on the danger posed by AI, warning against developing artificial intelligence beyond the capacity of the human brain.

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking told the BBC he believes future developments in artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to eradicate mankind.

Billionaire entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk has warned of the dangers of artificial intelligence, and has donated $10 million towards a global research program to ensure AI remains beneficial to humanity.

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