THE FUTURE OF LIFE INSTITUTE, a think tank on artificial intelligence (AI) that counts fearist-theorists including Professor Stephen 'Swiftkey' Hawking and Elon 'We're all gonna die so buy my cars' Musk, has written a sternly-worded open letter to robots, asking them not to kill us.
The open letter published on the organisation's website states that "AI systems must do what we want them to do" and invites stakeholders to add their signature to the pledge for closer coordination between those developing AI technology.
It goes on to explain: "The potential benefits are huge, since everything that civilization has to offer is a product of human intelligence; we cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools AI may provide, but the eradication of disease and poverty are not unfathomable.
"Because of the great potential of AI, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls."
Last year, a '13-year-old' became the first computer system to pass the so-called Turing Test, after fooling expert judges that they were talking to a human.
However, the low threshold for passing the Turing Test, coupled with the age of the theory behind it, has led many to question its validity, and most agree that the transfer of AI from the pages of science fiction to the risk-reward cycle of real life is, as yet, a while off.
Signatories of the letter already include Harvard and MIT professors, researchers from IBM's Watson team, Microsoft Research, Google's Deep Mind team, and Alan Alda from M*A*S*H*, who has taken a keen interest in the development of AI and actually has a Communicating Science Centre at Stony Brook University named in his honour.
Musk has been a long-time spokes-Eeyore on the subject, and warned in October that if we build artificially intelligent robots they will probably see humankind as spam and delete it, potentially leading to the bizarre spectacle of millions of hipsters pleading for their lives to Siri.
In a recent INQUIRER column, however, we highlighted the paradoxical nature of this argument, largely based on the fact that we're the same race that managed to land a washing machine on a comet. µ
This column could make you very poor
Firm beats out rival bids from Motorola and Sepura
Battery will help stock blackouts in South Australia
The early bird catches the spud. Perhaps she was a potato clock?