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Viewpoint: Artificial intelligence ‘without guard rails’ is growing global threat

| | February 13, 2020
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Image: Information Age
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Technology is bestowing wonderful opportunities and benefits to the world, but the acceleration of development, and lack of global regulatory control, represents the biggest threat going forward.

Cool toys, fancy devices, and healthcare cures are positive developments. But less benign will be the development, without guard rails, of artificial intelligence that matches human capability by 2029. Worse yet, this will be followed by the spectre of what’s known as General AI — machines capable of designing machines.

The late, legendary physicist Stephen Hawking warned in 2017: “Success in creating effective AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization. Or the worst. We just don’t know. So, we cannot know if we will be infinitely helped by AI, or ignored by it and sidelined, or conceivably destroyed by it.”

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Tesla founder Elon Musk and others have been vocal about this risk, but international action is needed. To date, these fears and ethical constraints have only been addressed in petitions and open letters signed by important scientists but these have not captured global attention, nor have they provoked a political movement.

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