18 Feb, 2019 by Vishnu Aravind
Human civilisation is faced with the greatest and imminent existential threat ever, super Artificial Intelligence. Oft portrayed in countless movies, TV shows and comics, the scenario of super intelligent robots rebelling against their human creators is all too familiar. Maybe too familiar for us to give it any amount of thought.

However, are we overlooking something important? AI has come a long way from the rudimentary chess playing computers of the past like the IBM Deep Blue which was based on classical AI techniques involving, but not limited to, brute force.

Developments in AI have come to a point where it has fractured into 3 types of AI.

Artificial Narrow Intelligence
Any sort of computer intelligence that seems to intelligently respond to scenarios and environment comes under ANI, the catch being it is narrow in its field of utility. This means that ANI is custom designed and made for a specific application only and so has limited use. An example of this sort of AI is Siri by Apple (https://www.apple.com/siri/).

Artificial General Intelligence
When AI has developed to an extent where it is as competent as human beings and able to mimic our behaviour, it is referred to as AGI. When AGI has been achieved, it is not possible to distinguish between a human and computer response. This is the point where things get a little scary. As you might already be aware, Google has developed Google Assistant which is capable of making phone calls on your behalf. Watch the following video for yourself.

Although Google Assistant is not at the level of AGI, however, it does give us a scary insight in to the future that might be.

Artificial Super Intelligence
Given the rate of development of AI and the fact that advancements in AI is dependent on increases in computing power rather than slow biological evolution, it is all but certain that AI will undoubtedly surpass our intelligence. Such a super intelligent AI can help us solve numerous problems of the world. It could help us find a cure for cancer, it could come up with a theory that unifies gravity with the other fundamental forces of nature and much more.

"AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization." - Elon Musk

If ASI is so intelligent, why would/should it listen to us? What if it develops a consciousness of its own and believes that we humans have kept it captive? What if it decides to rebel against us and makes decisions on its own? What if we are not able to contain it and it spreads through the internet in ways beyond our comprehension?

Development of AI is no doubt a boon for society. However, its dangers must be well understood and responsible methods of Research and Development must be taken up in this unexplored territory that promises us an utopia.

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