The dangers of AI have been explored in a vast array of science fiction books, movies, and games over the past 70 odd years. For the most part, it is still just science fiction. But let us explore this concept today, a possibility of a super-intelligent machine that can make dangerous decisions without being governed by human limitations.
The entire concept almost seems ridiculous, AI today is run on complex algorithms that dictate its functions, critical thinking has not been achieved. To that end, we could argue that an actual Artificial Intelligence has yet to be invented and it would be completely accurate depending on your definition
There are several categories that divide an AI but the biggest umbrellas are Basic AI, Human AI, and Super AI. Basic AI’s are what we have now and will continue to have for the foreseeable future. This is easily seen through any of the different applications, like a virtual assistant to Tesla’s Autopilot they do what their algorithms instruct them to and with inhuman consistency. A self-driving car is powered by AI but is not an actual AI it can drive from point A to B, but it can’t take out loans or accurately predict the weather.
Now a Human-like AI, as yet a work of fiction, will be capable of critical thought and actions of a normal human. This will also be done through algorithms but these will be advanced enough that they have the capacity to react to any situation. The Super AI is one that has far surpassed the capabilities of a Human and is capable of making decisions and influencing the wide world for good or ill. The concept of a Super AI was first introduced by famous scientist Alan Turing in 1951.
The theory goes that if someone were to create a machine that can actually think like a human then that human-AI will evolve into a Super AI in a matter of hours as it processes the wealth of data on the internet.
There is a cautionary tale that haunts all discussions of Super AI, it is too long for this article but I will link it here, it is called by many names, I’ll call it Turry and the doomed start-up.
These concepts are purely speculation at this point but a possibility always remains, but the solution to a power-mad Super AI is simple according to many, just turn it off. This of course ignores the possibility of digital uploads but that is a plot hole for another day.