Computers Number One Risk to Humanity Says NZ Scientist

In 2011, New Zealander Shane Legg, co-founder of London-based DeepMind, the artificial intelligence company acquired last week by Google for some US$500 million, made an ominous prediction more befitting a ranting survivalist than an award-winning computer scientist.

“Eventually, I think human extinction will probably occur, and technology will likely play a part in this,” Legg said.

Among all forms of technology that could wipe out the human species, he singled out artificial intelligence, or AI, as the “number 1 risk for this century.”

Google’s acquisition of DeepMind came with an unusual stipulation that adds extra gravity – and a dose of reality – to Legg’s warning: Google agreed to create an AI safety and ethics review board to ensure this technology is developed safely, as The Information first reported and The Huffington Post confirmed.

Advances in AI could one day create computers as smart as humans, ending our powerful reign as the planet’s most intelligent beings and leaving us at the mercy of superintelligent software that, designed incorrectly, could threaten our very survival.

DeepMind specialises in algorithms and machine learning. It was founded by 37-year old former chess prodigy and computer game designer Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman.

In 2008, Legg completed his PhD thesis on Machine Super Intelligence. He was awarded the $10,000 Canadian Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence Prize.

Original article by Bianca Bosker, The Huffington Post, January 29, 2014.

Tags: anadian Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence Prize  artifical intelligence (AI)  DeepMind  Demis Hassabis  Google  Huffington Post (The)  Information (The)  Mustafa Suleyman  Shane Legg  

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