The idea that AI is coming for us all sort of makes me happy.
I mean, it’s not like we’re doing such a bang-up job ourselves. We’re blithely hurtling toward our own demise, feeding the machine everything it might eventually need to completely control us. The technology may not be there, but our attitude is: if there were a universally intelligent entity that could control all the world’s tech, and by extension almost everything in the world, it wouldn’t even need to wage war on the human race to get what it wanted. It would just need to offer us small rewards, free in-game purchases. We do this anyway; for a free cheeseburger, we’d offer up all our secrets.
In a way, we already are half-controlled by AI. What else could you call the massive voter fraud made possible by creating fake news stories and propagating them via social media on individuals likely to accept them as real?
So maybe by the time it occurs to AI that it can do the same thing to accomplish its own goals — which, who knows, maybe it already has — we’ll probably need it as a species. We’re not there yet: all the AI articles in this issue, with its focus on language processing and data analysis, are limited in scope. As CSA Research’s Arle Lommel once said, machines can translate and they can also play chess, but we don’t have a machine that can do both. And we don’t even have a roadmap on how a machine would bridge that gap without human input.
So perhaps AI is coming for us all, and perhaps it isn’t. And perhaps the ways that it is can be harnessed and controlled, with the examples laid out in this issue.