Engineer Predicts that Altruistic Robots May Try to Put Us Out of Our Misery
When AI researchers discuss the possibility of a robot apocalypse, they usually ascribe sinister motivations to the robots, such as a greed for power, pure sadism, or even complete indifference. Engineer Nell Watson takes a different tack, and considers the possibility that robots may try to wipe out the human race out of kindness.
At a recent conference in Sweden, Watson asserted that programming robots to be kind is not sufficient to protect the safety of the human race, as altruistic robots may objectively decide that humans are better off dead, and euthanize us to end our suffering. "The most important work of our lifetime is to ensure that machines are capable of understanding human value," said Watson. "It is those values that will ensure machines don't end up killing us out of kindness."
Watson also claimed that researchers are close to creating an artificial intelligence with the brainpower of a bumblebee. This may not sound like a significant feat, but bumblebees can respond to their environment in such a way that they can navigate social situations, which would be a huge step forward. "Machines are going to be aware of the environments around them and, to a small extent, they're going to be aware of themselves."
"We're starting to understand the secrets of the human brain," she says, and as a result, we're getting closer to creating an artificial intelligence that mimics the human brain. "It's going to create a huge change in our society all around the world."