Google researchers working on artificial intelligence recently suggested that the technology might not be as big a threat to humanity as others have opined it to be, says a report from the Wall Street Journal. Led by Mustafa Suleyman, head of AI at Google DeepMind, the scientists claimed that speculation regarding AI destroying all of human kind are rather absurd.
AI can be helpful to mankind
Artificial Intelligence has been a source of debate for a long time. In the past year, people such as Stephen Hawking, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Tesla’s Elon Musk have all expressed concerns over the potential dangers of AI to humanity. However, Suleyman suggested that AI could be an immensely potent tool that can be exploited for our benefit, similar to every other machine, such as washing machines, tractors, etc. “We’re building them to empower humanity and not to destroy us,” added researcher. Suleyman is the co-founder of a London-based AI firm DeepMind, which Google acquired last year for almost $400 million.
In 2014, DeepMind caught people’s attention with a research, published in Nature, which demonstrated a programming process that can be used to make computers better players of Atari games than humans. The research concluded that instead of teaching computers to play every game, the machine can utilize the knowledge gained in previous games to play the subsequent ones. Suleyman cited this as a significant development in the realm of AI.
Google using machine learning capabilities in various areas
After its acquisition, Google has been using the machine learning capabilities developed by DeepMind in different areas such as image search, biotech, robotics and Google X. Last month, the search giant launched a new feature in its Photos product that enables users to search for their pictures using keywords such as beds, children, holiday, etc. Interestingly, the feature works even though the user has not labelled the pictures with such keywords.
In view of these developments, Suleyman suggests that AI is capable of solving some of the humanity’s biggest problems, such as food insecurity, global warming, and income inequality. However, these capabilities of AI are being eclipsed by a ‘hype’ centered on technology’s supposed threat to mankind.
Though Suleyman differs in opinion from other anti-AI parties, the scientist has considered the issues behind the hype against AI. After its acquisition by Google, DeepMind formed an ethics and safety board. Moreover, the firm has been prohibited by Google from providing any of its AI-related work for use in military and other intelligence operations. That said, the search company has yet to reveal any information about its AI ethics board.