Sunday, August 2, 2009

Scientists secretly fear AI robot-machines may soon outsmart men

A robot that can open doors. Computer viruses that no one can stop.

Advances in the scientific world promise many benefits, but scientists are secretly panicking over the thought that artificially intelligent machines could outsmart humans.

While at a conference, held in Monterey Bay, California, leading experts warned that mankind might not be able to control computer-based systems that carry out a growing share of society’s workload, reports The Times.

“These are powerful technologies that could be used in good ways or scary ways,” warned Eric Horvitz, principal researcher at Microsoft who organised the conference on behalf of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

Alan Winfield, a professor at the University of the West of England, believes that boffins spend too much time developing artificial intelligence and too little on robot safety.

“We’re rapidly approaching the time when new robots should undergo tests, similar to ethical and clinical trials for new drugs, before they can be introduced,” he said.

The scientists who presented their findings at the International Joint Conference for Artificial Intelligence in Pasadena, California, last month fear that nightmare scenarios, which have until now been limited to science fiction films, such as the Terminator series, The Matrix, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Minority Report, could come true.

A more realistic short-term concern is the possibility of malware that can mimic the digital behavior of humans.

According to the panel, identity thieves might feasibly plant a virus on a person’s smartphone that would silently monitor their text messages, email, voice, diary and bank details. The virus could then use these to impersonate that individual with little or no external guidance from the thieves.

1 comment:

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