BRAUN: The robots should hurry up
Liz Braun
More from Liz Braun
March 17, 2018
March 17, 2018 6:26 PM EDT
A symphony orchestra performs under the glass pyramide the Louvre museum during a private business event of the American global professional services company Accenture in Paris on September 20, 2016. Accenture Strategy has created a symphonic experience enabled by human insight and artificial intelligence technology.Michel Euler / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Sunday, we wrote about the role of Artificial Intelligence in Sexbots, those silicone sirens who can eventually ‘learn’ your shagging preferences. Sort of.
You don’t need a sex buddy to engage with A.I. We’re surrounded by examples of machine learning in everyday life, from the spam filter on your e-mail to the soothing sounds of Alexa informing you that your bum actually does look big in those jeans.
An Amazon Echo Dot is displayed during a program announcing several new Amazon products by the company, in Seattle. A test by an AP reporter finds that the virtual assistant Alexa inside the Echo Dot is good at reordering stuff bought previously on Amazon. But asking it to order new items was trickier, and it’s definitely not for browsing.
Who doesn’t want a gizmo around that can learn all about you while opening the garage door and turning on the dishwasher? Alexa even gave out dating tips on Valentine’s Day.
Amazon Echo and Google Home came along in the nick of time — contemporary humans are too busy posting cat videos on social media to turn on their own porch light.
A.I. is a big cheese these days, what with talk of driverless cars, factories run by robots or Mars 2020 cave exploration.
Last week brought news reports that Uber had autonomous trucks driving around Arizona, prompting another flurry of questions about when we might all have cars that operate themselves. Think of the free time! People could devote themselves to life-altering research and more cat filming.
Expert predictions vary, but some say a driverless car will be available and on the road within a few years, while others say it will be decades before such cars will be a reality. Singapore has been testing self-driving taxis for 18 months. Uber already tried out a fleet of such futuristic vehicles.
The ‘Pop.up next’ concept flying car, a hybrid vehicle that blends a self-driving car and passenger drone by Audi, italdesign and Airbus is seen at the 88th Geneva International Motor Show on March 6, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. Global automakers are converging on the show as many seek to roll out viable, mass-production alternatives to the traditional combustion engine, especially in the form of electric cars. The Geneva auto show is also the premiere venue for luxury sports cars and imaginative prototypes.
A realistic date for self-driving cars? Never.
Fancy ride aside, Uber was recently involved in an expensive legal skirmish with Waymo (Google) over the roof-top sensors on Uber’s self-driving trucks. The story comes complete with accusations of corporate theft and bad faith, firings and a big payout; expect ruthless and feckless to get in the way of driverless for a long, long time.
The greed and stupidity of human beings should not be underestimated.
Just four months ago, Stephen Hawking said, “Unless we learn how to prepare for, and avoid, the potential risks, A.I. could be the worst event in the history of our civilization. It brings dangers, like powerful autonomous weapons, or new ways for the few to oppress the many. It could bring great disruption to our economy.”
SEX ROBOTS: The future of sex?
Hawking seems to be talking about people, not A.I. He saw the upside to A.I. — its capacity to fight climate change, for example — but cautioned that society had to control its development.
Lest it control us.
This file photo taken on April 27, 2017 shows participants listening to a recorded speech by British physicist Stephen Hawking on artificial intelligence as his image is seen on a screen at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing. Millions of Chinese mourned Stephen Hawking on March 14, 2018, bidding farewell to a “giant star” admired in China for stoically rising above physical disability and for reaching out to Chinese fans on social media.
In February, 26 tech experts from leading organizations and universities released a report called The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation. Among the suggestions is the notion that security attacks — digital, physical, political — will get smarter, cheaper and easier to undertake; drones and autonomous weapons could be involved.
A.I. improved automation in areas such as surveillance and the creation of propaganda will contribute to further social manipulation and the invasion of privacy, softening up entire nations for attack.
“These concerns are most significant in the context of authoritarian states,” says the paper.
America, in other words.
Black Mirror is a series on Netflix with cautionary tales on human reliance on technology. (NETFLIX)
As the report states, “The challenge is daunting and the stakes are high.”
What’s required (generally speaking) to keep control are attention, cooperation and a culture of responsibility — that’s already proved impossible for humans, so they must be counting on robots to keep it all together.
The general fear about machine learning appears to be the eventual annihilation of human beings.
As if we needed help with that.
BRAUN: The robots should hurry up | Toronto Sun