Artificial Intelligence and Its Threat to Humanity


• 22 December 2015

By Stephanie Sommers

The science fiction movies like “Terminator” or “Transformers” display enough precisely the threat resulting from the development of advanced technologies. The thoughts about the threat of the evolution of artificial intelligence to the human civilization are shared not only by cineastes or writers. Nowadays the famous representatives of the science, technologies and business areas express the opinions about the supposed threat of the artificial intelligence to the humanity.

The danger of computer systems evolution can mean the end of the human civilization, states professor Steven Hawking. The main risk for human existence lies in appearing the consciousness of machines, thinks the scientist. The worries about the machines’ influence on the human activities are shared also by Elon Musk. The founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors shares the opinion that the danger bringing by artificial intellect is more than the nuclear weapon.

In spite of the hypothetical level of the domination of machine intellect, the rapidity of its real progress impresses. Various systems used for the perfection of weapons, development of industry and health care can correct their errors on different stages of their functioning. Will they be able to use their capacities rising against humanity? Where is the answer to this terrifying question? The worries of famous businessmen and scientists are often criticized for the exaggeration of the artificial intelligence threat, but the anxiety is present.

Actual benefits and possible danger

The artificial intelligence (AI) is the technical system possessing some capacities of the intelligence ( It means a computer system for all nowadays cases. Such system is able to understand and to recognize, find the way of obtaining the result, take decisions and to study. Two principal groups of such systems are determined:

• applications;
• expert systems.

The applications are the traditional technical systems used almost in all branches of science, studies, economy, industry and various spheres of everyday life. The use of specific programs improves and facilitates learning languages, measurement and treatment of different materials, accounting and analytics, moving according to definite coordinates and many other operations. Many computer applications are everywhere accessible due to modern devices: laptops, smartphones e. g. It is a real democratization of people by means of equal possibilities of the access to global databases. The structured expert systems are the results of integrating ordinary applications.

Though most of expert systems contain some applications in them, they differ from the usual applications by some key aspects: volume of work (different expert systems are represented as program aggregates or even centers) and capacities of analyzing and correction (in case of errors). Simpler applications mistake very rarely, but they usually should be reprogrammed in case of faults.

Battle drones, the centers of the monitoring and control during the exchanges’ activities, medical aggregates are the examples of using expert systems. The computer system “Watson” has become popular worldwide after its victory in Jeopardy in 2011. The inventors of the system have programmed it to understand the natural language. Watson was used for treatment of the people suffering from lung cancer in 2013. The designers are going to use the system in the spheres of instruction, insurance and energy-saving.

Bill Gates, the creator of Microsoft, considers that the humanity will meet difficulties in managing the functioning of technical systems. The rates of the AI progress and the imperfect human nature can create the fatal mix. If the launch systems of nuclear missiles become uncontrolled or/and can choose the targets independently and Watson finds the information about the multiplication of cancer cells, the hypothetical threat will be real and hardly possible to be stopped. People will be lucky if they meet Terminators or Transformers programmed for the protection of humanity.

Human morality as the protection from the aggression of machines

Listing some important domains of the forms of artificial intelligence use, one can understand the positive effect of the development of science and technologies on human civilization:

• science and education;
• medicine and health care;
• industry.

Using the computer systems for the improvement of everyday life, people program them to create (not to destroy). The constructive and harmonic development of the civilization preventing from the ideas of global domination by means of technologic advance is a real possibility to avoid the potential menace of such evolution.

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