American Consequences - June 2019

By John Tierney

Who’s afraid of AI? Too many of us. Particularly since Boeing’s computerized pilot started flying airliners into the ground. But our fears have less to do with the dangers of artificial intelligence than with the limitations of natural intelligence – the circuits in our brain that keep us worried about imaginary threats. It’s not that the AI doomsayers are stupid. Some of them are quite smart. Elon Musk, who called AI “far more dangerous than nukes,” knows enough rocket science to send a SpaceX payload into orbit. The late Stephen

Hawking, who warned that AI “could spell the end of the human race,” knew his cosmology. But they aren’t in the business of building AI. The people who do that have a hard time imagining a robot capable of controlling one screaming toddler, much less taking over the world. Yes, robots will keep getting smarter, but even superintelligent machines won’t fulfill the fearmongers’ nightmares. Let’s consider the supposed array of threats from AI:

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American Consequences

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