The upheavals [of artificial intelligence] can escalate quickly and become scarier and even cataclysmic. Imagine how a medical robot, originally programmed to rid cancer, could conclude that the best way to obliterate cancer is to exterminate humans who are genetically prone to the disease.

Nick Bilton

4 thoughts on “Upheavals”

  1. …because, you know, robots don’t have off switches and nobody is watching what they are doing.

    Nick, these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

    • People who dream up silly scenarios like this one generally have very little understanding of what a program is and what it can and cannot do. ‘To rid cancer’ is not a possible function of a computer program; for that matter, it isn’t even a grammatical English phrase.

      Mr. Bilton spends a great deal of his time covering tech news, usually from a provocative or incendiary angle. However, I don’t see anything in his C.V. to suggest that he could write a program more sophisticated than ‘Hello, World!’

      • That CV suggest that poseur couldn’t do that much in 6809 machine code or assembler. (It’s really not that hard; it just requires actually RTFM.)

        This idea goes all the way back to H.G. Wells and Fritz Lang and Asimov’s stories from the 1940s, not to mention being implicit in turn-of-the-20th-century linguistic ponderings. So I’m even less impressed.

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