The current fast pace of development in Artificial Intelligence has inspired a lot of concern from onlookers, not the least being tech luminaries such as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk.
Bill Gates has now come forward to pooh-pooh those concerns.
“This is a case where Elon and I disagree,” says Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, speaking with the WSJ Magazine and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
“The so-called control problem that Elon is worried about isn’t something that people should feel is imminent,” he continued. “We shouldn’t panic about it.”
The control problem in simple terms is the unanswered question of how to contain a more intelligent being and make sure it serves our own wishes instead of its own. Those who expressed concern that this is nearly impossible has likened it to children trying to control an adult, or more frighteningly ants trying to control a human.
According to Elon Musk “AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization” and poses “vastly more risk” than North Korea, and has expressed the belief that in the best case scenario humans will be like house cats to powerful superintelligent AIs. In the worse case scenario, humans will simply be exterminated.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called such concern “pretty irresponsible” while John Giannandrea, the senior vice president of engineering at Google said, “I am definitely not worried about the AI apocalypse.”
Microsoft has itself increased its investment in AI research recently, increasing their staffing to 8000 employees in the division (around 6% of the company.)
CEO Satya Nadella’s view was a bit more pragmatic.
“There’s a lot I think we can do to shape our own future instead of thinking, this is just going to happen to us,” he said. “Control is a choice. We should try to keep that control.”