Sentient machines have fascinated both robot engineers and science fictions writers and filmmakers for as long as humanity has stumbled upon the notion. Some say that they would be of great help to people in performing various daily tasks, others fear that once the robots get a sense of how society works, they will feel exploited and kill us all.
Elon Musk, Tesla Motors CEO, has his own opinion on the matter and is one of the individuals worried about AIs (artificial intelligences) rising up against humanity.
To ensure that such a never comes to pass, Musk’s Future of Life Institute has awarded no less than $7 million to various research teams around the world. The money serves as incentive for them to look for the risks, as well as the opportunities, that developing an AI would pose if that ever came to pass.
Currently there are 37 different research teams who’ve benefited from funds from the $7 million. Their main task is to think about any potential disasters that an AI could bring upon mankind, and also develop ways of stopping the sentient machine.
Max Tegmark, president over at the Future of Life Institute, gave a statement saying that “There is this race going on between the growing power of the technology and the growing wisdom with which we manage it”.
He went on to add that up until this point the investments that have been made have supported making the machines more intelligent, and stresses that this is the first investment made to assure a safety net of sorts for the people of the world.
The main concern here is a very human one that robots may or may not fell as strongly about as we do – Musk is concerned that an AI tasked with handling financials responsibilities might start scheming once left unsupervised. He says that the sentient machine, or program, should be able to justify why it suggested that an institutions should adopt one strategy or another.
Another issue being explored is the legal one – who is legally responsible for a machine that operates on its own in society?
Elon Musk is not worried, however, that machines will be sent from the future to assassinate people or take over the world, a plot popular with Hollywood movies.
The Tesla Motors CEO is not alone in his attitude as Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking have echoed the same type of thinking in the past.
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