Skype engineer fears we will enter an AI arms race
Skype founding engineer Jaan Tallinn warned the world may plunge into an AI arms race. In an Al Jazeera interview, he said anyone with enough money may create artificial intelligence robots “without attribution.” As a result, “We might just be creating a world where it’s no longer safe to be outside because you might be chased down by swarms of slaughterbots.”
Many people like Bill Gates believe artificial intelligence will usher in a new Industrial Revolution greater than the Internet. This powerful technology can benefit mankind, but we must understand its risks. As a result, we can implement measures to prevent them before this technology advances too far.
This article will discuss why Jaan Tallinn believes our fascination with artificial intelligence will bring an AI arms race. Then, I will explain how various countries have been addressing AI risks.
Why will the world enter an AI arms race?
Qatar-based news outlet Al Jazeera interviewed Jaan Tallinn, the Estonian engineer who was one of the founders of Skype. He was also the brains behind the peer-to-peer file-sharing service Kazaa,
He shared various insights regarding artificial intelligence, such as its progress and potential real-life impact. However, he caught most peoples’ attention when he stated his AI fears.
The interviewer asked if he believed the recent study that says artificial intelligence will become more proficient in most jobs in 30 years. Tallinn replied we may get there sooner as more people pour more processing power into this “gold mine.”
The engineer also declared, “The reason that humans are in permanent control of this planet and not chimpanzees is that we are more intelligent than they are.”
“We are not stronger, but we know how to do long-term planning, etc. Now, we as a species are in a race as a species to yield that advantage to machines, which the intuitions of people say is not a good idea,” Tallinn added.
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He cited a survey that asked pedestrians what they thought about advancing AI. Tallinn said they had surprisingly more awareness about artificial intelligence’s risks than scientists.
The engineer also warned about using AI workers and extended his concerns toward armed forces testing artificial intelligence systems. Tallinn remarked, “Putting AI in the military makes it very hard for humanity to control AI’s trajectory because, at that point, you are in a literal arms race.”
He acknowledges the fear of autonomous drones taking over the world stems from science fiction. Still, he warns, “The natural evolution for fully autonomous warfare is swarms of miniaturized drones that anyone with money can produce and release without attribution.”
How can we stop the AI arms race?
Believe it or not, Jaan Tallin’s warnings of militaries exploring AI applications is not a pipe dream. After all, this channel has been covering AI military projects lately.
For example, the Israeli Defense Forces have been deploying an AI system called Fire Factory on real battlefields. It doesn’t produce Tallinn’s “slaughterbots,” but it coordinates air strikes.
Fire Factory analyzes a battlefield, pinpoints a specific location, calculates the bullets and bombs required, and assigns jets to attack at an exact time and date. As a result, the IDF can organize strikes quickly and efficiently.
Fortunately, the Skype founding engineer believes we can still stop the AI arms race as we did with bioweaponry. “I think the correct position to take here is that as soon as we cannot rule out that, we will remain in control for a long time,” he said.
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“We should take necessary precautions to make sure either we remain in control, or if we lose control, the future will still be good for us,” Tallinn added. The United States understands the impact of artificial intelligence, so it launched a Senate hearing with ChatGPT CEO Sam Altman.
The government meeting concluded with the private and public sectors agreeing to regulate AI. Also, the G7 countries agreed to put rules in the development and use of artificial intelligence.
During their meeting, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated, “Artificial intelligence’s potential benefits for citizens and the economy are great. At the same time, we need to agree to guardrails to develop AI in the EU, reflecting our democratic values,” she added.
Skype founding engineer Jaan Tallinn shared his fears of a growing AI arms race. He says we must prevent militaries worldwide from exploring artificial intelligence applications.
Otherwise, we might have AI killer bots from anonymous sources terrorizing civilians. Still, he does not rally behind discontinuing AI development altogether.
AI can bring a bright future, but we must ensure we can rein in its negative impacts. Learn more about the latest digital tips and trends at Inquirer Tech.