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Presented @ The AI Summit, Olympia, London, 29 Nov 2017
In a world that is getting more connected and complex by the day, where we need to produce and distribute more at a lower and lower cost to the planet to achieve sustainability, we see the Japanese embracing robotics and AI with great confidence. They see both as part of the solution to many of their societal, care and industrial problems and limitations, and they assign some level of life quality to both.
Meanwhile, throughout the West a debate rages on the dangers, real and imaginary. These are mainly based on fear created by ignorance, the Hollywood Effect (eg Terminator and AI) bolstered by celebrities issuing warnings whilst that never having designed or operated an AI system!
So, what is the reality? Are there any real dangers? Of course, there always are with all new technologies, but as ever, engineers and scientists are continually reviewing what can and should be done. The reality is; the AI cat is well and truly out of the bag! It has already seen widespread deployments across manufacturing industry, transport, logistics, and of course the medical and care sectors. There is no going back, we are now totally dependant!
To date all of our AI has been ‘Narrow’ and simple; very limited and generally addressing a singular or single class of problem. We have IBM Watson in the lead with its breadth of analysis and diagnostic abilities, whilst Google AlphaGO is in the lead in the way it is able to learn games and processes sans human help. But in the next two phases leading to General (or Wide) AI we are heading toward true sentience, self awareness, and full autonomy of access and action.
This general trajectory is of some concern and the focus of this presentation. So, we examine the characteristics of each phase and the techniques that could be and are being developed and deployed to avert the much heralded ‘Destruction of the Human Race’ to come. In reality, military hunter killer robots are already being developed with some trials and deployments underway. As ever, AI and Robotic technologies have a huge upside, but potentially with a bigger that usual downside!
In reality, the real problem, threat and risks have little to do with the technologies, they are almost entirely in the hands of their human masters!