Almost 2 decades after IBM’s Deep Blue beating the chess champion Kasparov, Google DeepMind’s AI AlphaGo defeating 9-dan Go professional raises the question: what will be the next victory of AI?
European Parliament published a draft report with recommendations to the European Commission on Civil Law Rules on Robotics, including a list of concerns for a possible rise of the machines. Not only the singularity, artificial super intelligence resulting in deep changes in human civilization, but also more inevitable outcomes are discussed, such as AI’s effects on workforce, ethical and legal issues inherent to automatized systems including drones.
Autonomy’s effects on workforce has already been experienced, but what will be the consequences of adding more intelligence to existing automation? Some researchers say that, this will not lead to unemployment, but to the creation of new unforeseeable career fields, as had been the case for computer scientists after the invention of computers. If this is not the case, Europe is asking for solutions to cope with the imminent situation.
Until now, machine’s learning processes are initiated by humans at least by giving the machine its goal. The community, confident that the robots will not evolve to some sort of consciousness, is referring to this fact, robots will always need humans to provide them with objectives. While this is debated, Google is discussing to implement a big red button to its AI DeepMind, just in case. The European Parliament also advices AI designers to integrate kill switches to AI. However, according to some experts, if an AI becomes smart enough, it might disable the kill switch and avoid such interruption. Although this sounds like science fiction, here we are, referencing to Isaac Asimov’s laws in documents by European Parliament.
Douglas Hofstadter, in his book Godel Escher Bach – An Eternal Golden Braid, makes two analogies between: unconscious things and meaningless symbols; consciousness and patterns that are made up of these meaningless symbols. If he is right, witnessing the AI’s powers in recognizing patterns, consciousness might a probable outcome in the future. Concerns from the European Parliament is shared by popular scientists and investors such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking. Watching Google’s humanoid robot, Atlas, running freely in the woods does not help to relieve. Opposed to the idea of this powerful tool dominated by a company or a nation, OpenAI, a nonprofit company, is aiming to distribute AI knowledge publishing open source code. Broad share of AI is also underlined in the document by European Parliament, with the proper regulations expected in the years to come.
Until then, as suggested by European Parliament, we will refer to Asimov’s Laws while designing AI:
1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to
come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws (See Runabout, I. Asimov, 1943)
0. A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
Ref4. HOFSTADTER, Douglas R. Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (New York, 1979)
Ref10. ASIMOV, Isaac. Runaround. Astounding Science Fiction, 1942, 29.1 : 94-103.