The debate on the consequences and costs of artificial intelligence (AI) is intensifying daily, with a number of influential thinkers, activists and business leaders voicing their view and frequently taking opposing stands.
Let’s take them in twos. First a chess player and a physicist.
Gary Kasparov, the former world chess champion and human rights activist who played IBM’s supercomputer, Deep Blue, in a series of globally publicized chess matches in 1996 and 1997 (Gary won the first round and lost the rematch) is a passionate advocate of AI. In his keynote at the recent Def Con conference, Gary urged the world to embrace and accelerate the AI revolution. He views the rise of authentically intelligent machines as a necessary force of creative destruction and doesn’t believe they will be a huge threat to humanity.
The nonpareil mind of physicist Stephen Hawking doesn’t agree entirely. In an interview with BBC, Professor Hawking said that a rise in AI technologies could produce favorable outcomes, such as the eradication of disease and the conquest of climate change. But he also warned that they could cause severe economic disruption, and spawn an assortment of outcomes disastrous for humanity, such as autonomous weapons and machines capable of developing a will of their own.
Next, two global business icons who clash on the future of AI.
Elon Musk, a technology visionary, and Tesla and SpaceX CEO, perceives AI as an existential threat, a “fundamental threat to human civilization.” Speaking at the U.S. National Governors Association summer meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, he strongly advocated for the proactive regulation of artificial intelligence because if we are reactive, it could be “too late.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is bullish on the prospects of AI and rejects the doomsayers as irresponsible. “With AI especially, I am really optimistic,” he said. “In the next five to 10 years, AI is going to deliver so many improvements in the quality of our lives.”