Artificial Intelligence or AI is growing at a rapid pace. In fact, the technology holds the potential to fundamentally transform the world we live in. It is present in our everyday activities, take for instance the smart recommendation systems on e-commerce platforms, image recognition systems on our smartphones, email spam filtering and speech recognition to name a few. Most researchers agree that a super-intelligent AI is unlikely to exhibit human emotions like love or hate, and that there is no reason to expect AI to become intentionally benevolent. However, the possibility of the same being used to do something devastating is highly likely and CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk agrees.
Earlier this month, Musk appeared before a meeting of the National Governor’s Association wherein he described AI as the greatest risk we face as a civilisation. “On the artificial intelligence front, I have access to the most cutting-edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it,” he said. This isn’t the first time that Musk has described AI to pose an existential threat to humanity. But his statements before the nation’s governors were notable both for their dire severity and his call for government intervention. AI expert, Manuela Veloso of Carnegie Mellon University doesn’t believe that the human race is even close to the point where AI might pose a superior threat. She however adds that the government must implement regulations on any AI-related products to ensure consumer safety. “I believe there should be regulation (of AI) the same way if you and I would create some kind of milk in a factory,” Veloso said.
At the same time she also believes that scientists must be given the freedom to push the limits of AI as far as they can within the safety of their labs. “I think the research, before it becomes a product, you can experiment, you can research or anything, otherwise we’ll never advance the discoveries of AI,” she said.
While researchers and experts agree that regulations need to be put in place, the question of exactly who should be responsible for this task still remains unanswered. Since the government doesn’t have a dedicated regulatory body to ensure appropriate functionality of AI, it is really difficult to think of any other alternative to carry out this task. It’s high time the government of leading nations start considering the fact that it is important for them to establish a panel that will take shape soon and will begin offering rules on this matter.