ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI), broadly defined as human-like intelligence and qualities exhibited by machines, has made a huge technological leap since 1956. Tech giants like Google and IBM believe that AI will benefit mankind in unprecedented ways. For example, autonomous vehicles are expected to enhance traffic safety and flow, whereas “care-bots” will aid in areas like elderly and patient care.
However, AI’s coming of age has also sparked concerns about the technology’s downside, particularly, when it is integrated into our daily lives. Will AI unleash more harm than good?
In pop culture, sci-fi franchises, like Terminator and Battlestar Galactica, depict humankind’s extermination at the hands of AI. How else would a super-intelligent machine react when faced with an imminent shutdown by alarmed humans, except to launch the first strike against its masters? The trouncing of Go board game champion Lee Sedol by Google’s AlphaGo AI programme is, perhaps, the harbinger of our demise in the not-too-distant future. The reality is, however, far less fanciful or fearsome.
… The writer is a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Last updated on 24/05/2016