Artificial intelligence development has been gaining momentum in recent years. Many applications for AI have been theorized and others even practically tested during this period. However, despite the rosy picture painted by most people who understand a thing or two about artificial intelligence, it appears that Stephen Hawking, a physicist and one of the brilliant minds of our time, has a different view.
Speaking on stage via telepresence in the Web Summit conference hosted in Lisbon, Portugal, Stephen Hawking weighed in on the continued development of Artificial Intelligence. Hawking said that AI might easily develop its own will and that the rise of the technology could be the best or the worst thing that ever happened to humanity.
The physicist observed that at the moment, millions of jobs around the world are already threatened all thanks to the rapid development of AI. He also noted that there are opportunities for AI to be used for pro-social purposes. However, despite all this potential, Hawking still believes that more work needs to be done.
He made it clear that the advancement of AI to a point where it can serve humanity positively will not happen by accident. Researchers and other players in this field must put in the work before anything substantive is achieved, and this could take decades.
Hawking encouraged companies that are already invested in AI technology to think beyond the problems that they want to solve. Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple are already invested in AI. They see this technology as a critical pillar of success for their future business operations. But Hawking feels that this is not enough. Applications for Artificial Intelligence must be explored beyond simple business processes.
The theoretical physicist urged companies to look into more ways AI can be used for humanity. Hawking also touched on the role of regulation and legislation in facilitating the development of AI for the future. He noted in the address to the Lisbon conference that the pace in which AI has been developed so far is fast expressing fears that AI could surpass humans in a few decades.
Elon Musk is also another brilliant inventor who has expressed concern about the pace in which AI technology has been developed. Musk has already warned that the human race’s future will be at serious risk in a situation where people live and work hand in hand with a superior intelligence.
In his closing remarks, Hawking reminded everyone that they had a role to play in ensuring that the next generation of humans is determined enough to engage with science. He also said that it is important for technologists involved in Artificial Intelligence to do the right thing and create a better world for the whole human race.
The Web Summit is a technology conference that is hosted in various parts of the world. So far it has managed to attract over 1,000 key speakers but there is no doubt that Stephen Hawking is by far one of the most high profile ones.