As the development of artificial intelligence (AI) continues to advance, concerns about the potential threat it poses to humanity have become increasingly widespread. In a recent article published in The Guardian, Jonathan Freedland argues that humans must act together to overcome this threat to civilization. However, some experts believe that the focus on whether AI is “sentient” is misplaced, and that the real danger lies in humans misusing AI for their own ends.
Roger Haines, a London-based expert on AI, argues that there is no evidence that “sentience” is a thing, and that it is more likely a collection of distinct capabilities interacting. He also notes that AI is an attempt to reproduce the function of just a small part of the human brain, and that our motivation to pursue self-interest comes from a billion years of evolution of the old brain, which AI is not based upon. The real threat, according to Haines, is from humans using AI for their own purposes, and from the fact that the mechanisms we have evolved to recognize other creatures with minds like ours are too easily fooled by superficial evidence.
Paul Huxley, a professor in London, suggests that Isaac Asimov’s book I, Robot provides useful reading on the topic of AI. Asimov’s predictions, made more than 70 years ago, imagined a time in 2058 when laws would be necessary to govern the behavior of robots. Huxley notes that things have moved faster than Asimov expected, and that the three laws of robotics he outlined are still relevant today.
In a separate article published in The Guardian, Samantha Floreani argues that the real danger of AI lies not in the “existential threat” it poses to humanity, but in the harms it is already causing. She notes that AI is being used to perpetuate discrimination, to create fake news, and to erode privacy. However, she also suggests that the means to deal with these harms are not hard to figure out, and that we don’t need “snake oil salesmen” to sell us a solution.
As the debate over the future of AI continues, it is clear that there are both potential benefits and risks associated with its continued development. While some experts argue that the focus on “sentience” is misplaced, others believe that the real threat lies in humans misusing AI for their own purposes. Regardless of the specific concerns, it is clear that we need to take a thoughtful and proactive approach to the development of AI in order to maximize its benefits while minimizing its risks.