All of that information is feeding projects such as Google Brain and Facebook’s artificial intelligence research and development. These are grand efforts by very large, private companies that have vast and untold implications for public policy. Yet these same companies are not being very transparent about their work.
They are, in reality, playing with fire that they can barely control—such as building robots that invent languages understandable only to themselves, as happened at Facebook two years ago. Facebook was able to shut the program down, but what happens in the future if the kill switch fails? What then?
Are we really so arrogant as human beings to think we can unleash general artificial intelligence and still be in control a generation or two from now? Would it even take that long?
Our elected representatives appear to be asleep at the switch on both general AI and automation. Ford Motor Co. recently announced it would be cutting 7,000 jobs, or roughly 10 percent of its entire workforce. Those jobs will be replaced by automation and Ford reportedly will increase its profits by $600 million annually. But to what end? And where does it stop?