Stephen Hawking Answers Questions On AI In Reddit “Ask Me Anything”

hawkingProfessor Stephen Hawking, who has been outspoken on the dangersĀ AI poses to humanity, is currently conducting a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything).

The Ask Me Anything will differ from usual Reddit AMAs, as Hawking will answer questions on Artificial Intelligence and other topics over the coming weeks (as opposed to answering in real time as is standard with Reddit).

The AMA is now open, and questions can be submitted until Tuesday 4th August.

This is the first time the famous physicist has conducted an Ask Me Anything, and there are already dozens of questions, with the current ‘top voted’ question being: –

Whenever I teach AI, Machine Learning, or Intelligent Robotics, my class and I end up having what I call “The Terminator Conversation.” My point in this conversation is that the dangers from AI are overblown by media and non-understanding news, and the real danger is the same danger in any complex, less-than-fully-understood code: edge case unpredictability. In my opinion, this is different from “dangerous AI” as most people perceive it, in that the software has no motives, no sentience, and no evil morality, and is merely (ruthlessly) trying to optimize a function that we ourselves wrote and designed. Your viewpoints (and Elon Musk’s) are often presented by the media as a belief in “evil AI,” though of course that’s not what your signed letter says. Students that are aware of these reports challenge my view, and we always end up having a pretty enjoyable conversation.
How would you represent your own beliefs to my class? Are our viewpoints reconcilable? Do you think my habit of discounting the layperson Terminator-style “evil AI” is naive? And finally, what morals do you think I should be reinforcing to my students interested in AI?

This AMA follows Hawking’s recent signing of an open letter warning of the dangers of an AI arms race.

You can follow Stephen Hawking’s Reddit AMA here.

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