Artificial Intelligence: A good or bad thing?
Sept. 19, 2016
by Mark Ollig

While reading predictions on how humans will be using (or surrendering to) Artificial Intelligence, or AI, words one person wisely told me 30 years ago came to mind: “Consider the source.”

I consider Stanford University a good source, and decided their 27-page report: “Artificial Intelligence and Life in 2030” was worth reading.

This September report is the first in what will be a long-term study on AI.

When I say a “long-term” study, I mean 100 years long, according to Stanford University.

So, what do people think of AI?

It depends on the individual, as I learned there are varying opinions about AI.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he anticipates within 10 years, AI will be outperforming humans.

“The basic human senses, like seeing, hearing, language, core things we do I think it’s possible to get to the point in the next five to 10 years where we have computer systems that are better than people at each of those things,” he said in The Verge.

Zuckerberg also said, in an Aug. 29 Facebook video town hall presentation, he wanted his home to be managed using AI technology.

His home will include speech and facial recognition technology, combined with AI.

Use this link to watch the complete Zuckerberg 57-minute Q&A Facebook video he made while in Rome: http://tinyurl.com/bits-Z1.

Famous English theoretical physicist, Professor Steven Hawking takes a cautious perspective on AI.

“A super-intelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals,” said Hawking in 2015.

However, he forewarned: “If those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we’re in trouble.”

Hawking expressed his concern about AI posing a threat to humanity in the future.

He predicted to the BBC news in 2014; “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

In 2015, Hawking signed a letter warning of the dangers of arming robots with weaponry, and of a potential “global AI arms race.”

Famed mathematician Alan Turing may have influenced Hawking’s opinions.

“There would be plenty to do, trying to understand what the machines were trying to say; i.e., in trying to keep one’s intelligence up to the standard set by the machines, for it seems probable that once the machine thinking method had started, it would not take long to outstrip our feeble powers. They would be able to converse with each other to sharpen their wits. At some stage therefore, we should have to expect the machines to take control,” Turing said in a 1951 lecture he gave called: “Intelligent Machinery, A Heretical Theory.”

British AI scientist, Rollo Carpenter, creator of the AI Cleverbot program, said; “I believe we will remain in charge of the technology for a decently long time and the potential of it to solve many of the world problems will be realized.”

Cleverbot is an Internet AI robotic chat computer program you can have a dialogue with as you would another person.

Yours truly spent about 20 minutes “conversing” with Cleverbot.

I found it interesting; at times silly, surprisingly amusing, and intellectually challenging.

The Stanford University report suggests AI is: “a science and a set of computational technologies that are inspired by – but typically operate quite differently from – the ways people use their nervous systems and bodies to sense, learn, reason, and take action.”

“Being transparent about their [AI] design and deployment challenges will build trust and avert unjustified fear and suspicion,” are the reassuring words by Harvard computer scientist Barbra Grosz, given in an article on the Stanford University’s engineering webpage.

The Stanford report predicts by 2030, AI technologies will become predominantly used in:

• Entertainment.

• Home/service robots.

• Employment and


• Public safety and security.

• Low-resource


• Education.

• Healthcare.

• Transportation.

Stanford University’s complete 27-page report can be read at: http://tinyurl.com/bits-Stanford1.

For me, it’s still too early to determine if AI will turn out to be a good or bad thing for humanity; so stay tuned, folks.

If you want to match wits with a very clever Internet AI bot, visit: www.cleverbot.com.

I leave you with this quote by Alan Turing; “A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human.”

As always, you can follow me on Twitter at my @bitsandbytes user name

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