The Godfathers of AI Warn of Future Dangers

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Several of AI’s ‘godfathers’ are worried about the pace at which it is evolving and warn of possible malicious use.

Prof. Yoshua Bengio, nicknamed one of the ‘godfathers’ of artificial intelligence recently told the BBC that he feels “lost” over his life’s work. He joined the recent calls for AI regulation and said he did not think militaries should be granted AI powers.

Prof. Bengio voiced his concerns and said he would have prioritized safety over usefulness had he known the direction and speed at which AI is developing.

Some fear that highly advanced AI could be used for malicious purposes, such as developing deadly weapons. In an interview with the BBC, Prof. Bengio said: “It might be military, it might be terrorists, it might be somebody very angry, psychotic. And so if it’s easy to program these AI systems to ask them to do something very bad, this could be very dangerous. If they’re smarter than us, then it’s hard for us to stop these systems or to prevent damage.”

Prof. Bengio and fellow concerned “godfather” Dr. Geoffrey Hinton signed two recent statements calling for caution about the future risks of AI. Dr. Hinton has notably recently retired from Google and said that he regretted his work.

Various academic as well as industry experts have warned that the pace of development could result in malicious AI being deployed by “bad actors” to actively cause harm – or choosing to inflict harm by itself.

On the other hand, the third “godfather” of AI, Prof Yann LeCun has said that apocalyptic warnings and panic are overblown.

There are many examples of how helpful AI can be to society, but we shouldn’t ignore the warnings of experts. This new technology is exciting and revolutionary, but as Prof Bengio told the BBC, all companies building powerful AI products need to be registered.