Silicon Valley must take care when developing AI

Pope Francis is urging Silicon Valley giants to be careful when they’re developing new technologies.

He’s not alone in his concern. Tech leaders like Elon Musk and Bill Gates are also taking a second look and reporting their concerns.

Speaking at a Vatican conference on technology last week, Francis told his audience to make sure they consider both theory and morality in their work.

Technologies like as artificial intelligence (AI) could lead to a new “form of barbarism”. In this,  the law of the strongest prevails over the common good, he says.

Francis  urged the audience to work together to establish a unified ethical framework to guide those in the tech industry and globalised world.

His audience included executives from Facebook, Mozilla and Western Digital, Nobel laureates, Catholic ethicists, government regulators, internet entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists –

“The remarkable developments in the field of technology, in particular those dealing with AI, raise increasingly significant implications in all areas of human activity,” Francis told them.

It can be used in a number of negative ways.

Artificial intelligence has the ability to circulate biased opinions and and false data.

It can “even manipulate the opinions of millions of people, to the point of endangering the very institutions that guarantee peaceful civil coexistence,” Francis  pointed out.

“If mankind’s so-called technological progress were to become an enemy of the common good, this would lead to an unfortunate regression to a form of barbarism dictated by the law of the strongest,” he said.

SpaceX and Telsa CEO Elon Musk’s recent tweets echo Francis’s concerns.

He’s saying it won’t be long until AI technology manipulates social media.

Sites should watch closely to see if bot swarms are evolving faster, as this could be a dead giveaway of a robot takeover, he suggests.

He thinks AI is our “biggest existential threat” and  likens its development to “summoning the demon”.

Super intelligent machines could use humans as pets, he says.

Other experts are afraid AI could “go rogue”.

Although not predicting any AI takeover any time soon, Hawking is reported as having said it is a “near certainty” that a major technological disaster will threaten humanity in the next 1,000 to 10,000 years.

On a practical level, many people fear the effect robots will have on their jobs and their ability to work.


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