Artificial Intelligence, or more simply, AI, is a topic which can be quite divisive at times. On the one hand, people are excited by the prospects that AI looks to bring. While on the other hand, there are those who are more concerned with what AI really means for the future of mankind. While the sentiment might sound like something straight out of a science fiction movie, it is not out of the bounds of reality to consider the current technological climate as one which is not that far removed from the premise of a science fiction movie. Machine learning is creating an environment where machines get smarter and are able to do more. After all, that is very much the notion being put forward by Google as to why their latest products like the Google Assistant is so good – it learns.
Which is a point that also seems to be exactly what is troubling for some. It is the “intelligence” part more than the “artificial” part which raises certain fundamentally ethical questions for technology. Questions which were also raised and talked upon at this year’s Google I/O event. The most recent of which occurred today during one of the final sessions where Google’s Chief of Search (who also happens to be a former head of AI at Google), John Giannandrea, provided his insight on the current intelligent status of AI. As part of the conversation and to cut to the chase, Giannandrea believes that the current state of AI is a long way away from being anything mankind should be currently concerned with. So much so that Giannandrea believes it is “decades and decades away.”
Drawing on the ‘far away’ point even more, Giannandrea explains that from his perspective, “superintelligence” is not an area of AI that researchers generally think about that often. And the ones that do, are few and far between. Although, Giannandrea did also note that in spite of it not being high up on the AI agenda for most researchers, Google does support those ethical questions and the researchers who are currently looking to find answers to them. Which would make sense seeing Google is looking to ensure that its AI endeavors are an integral part of most, if not all, aspects of our lives.