Judging from all the alarm these days, maybe artificial intelligence poses a huge danger threat to humanity.
Take former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. On Wednesday, he warned that artificial intelligence could pose existential risks, adding that governments will need to step in to ensure technology is not “misused by evil people.”
AI is supposed to make all of our lives easier. But ChatGPT, which emerged last year and is now being employed in endless ways, has prompted concern that it may be too powerful and eventually learn to think by itself, making it an existential risk.
“Existential risk is defined as many, many, many, many people harmed or killed,” Schmidt said at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit in London, CNBC reported.
“There are scenarios not today, but reasonably soon, where these systems will be able to find zero-day exploits in cyber issues, or discover new kinds of biology. Now, this is fiction today, but its reasoning is likely to be true. And when that happens, we want to be ready to know how to make sure these things are not misused by evil people,” he said.
Meanwhile, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is warning that AI could take over search engines like Google if, as predicted, the behaviors of users online change dramatically.
“Whoever wins the personal agent, that’s the big thing, because you will never go to a search site again, you will never go to a productivity site, you’ll never go to Amazon again,” Gates said during a Goldman Sachs event on AI in San Francisco this week, as quoted by CNBC.
AI assistants, for instance, could “read the stuff you don’t have time to read,” Gates said. That means users could get information without using Google search.
Microsoft moved quickly to get on top of AI, but Gates said there is a 50-50 chance that who comes out on top will be either a startup or a tech giant.
“I’d be disappointed if Microsoft didn’t come in there,” Gates said. “But I’m impressed with a couple of startups, including Inflection,” he added, referring to Inflection.AI, which was co-founded by former DeepMind executive Mustafa Suleyman.
To hear the big brains talk about it, AI will change everything. Take Spotify. Bill Simmons, the founder of the Spotify-owned podcast network The Ringer, said the streaming platform is currently working on AI tools that will be trained to learn hosts’ voices to create targeted ads.
“I don’t think Spotify is going to get mad at me for this, but we’re developing that stuff,” Simmons said in a conversation with Derek Thompson, an editor at The Atlantic, on an episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast.” “There is going to be a way to use my voice for the ads. You have to obviously give the approval for the voice, but it opens up, from an advertising standpoint, all these different great possibilities,” Business Insider reported.
And then there was what happened this month in China.
A scammer cheated a man out of his money by pretending to be his friend while using AI-powered face-swapping and voice-cloning software. That is known as a “deep fake.”
“Police in the city of Baotou, in the region of Inner Mongolia, said the perpetrator used AI-powered face-swapping technology to impersonate a friend of the victim during a video call and receive a transfer of 4.3 million yuan ($622,000),” Reuters reported.
The man transferred the money thinking his friend needed during a bidding process, police said Saturday. The man only realized he had been tricked when his friend said he didn’t know about the transfer.
So it’s getting scary out there. And it’s only just beginning.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.