Most discussions about artificial intelligence (AI) are characterised by hyperbole and hysteria. This could end up turning people against AI research, bringing significant progress in the technology to a halt
The hyperbole around AI largely stems from its promotion by tech-evangelists and self-interested investors. Google CEO Sundar Pichai declared AI to be “probably the most important thing humanity has ever worked on.” Given the importance of AI to Google’s business model, he would say that.
Some even argue that AI is a solution to humanity’s fundamental problems, including death, and that we will eventually merge with machines to become an unstoppable force. The inventor and writer Ray Kurzweil has famously argued this “Singularity” will occur by as soon as 2045.
The hysteria around AI comes from similar sources. The likes of physicist Stephen Hawking and billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk warned that AI poses an existential threat to humanity. If AI doesn’t destroy us, the doomsayers argue, then it may at least cause mass unemployment through job automation.
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