R O B O T I C S & A I
make it economically worthwhile. As some jobs are lost to automation, how do we recognize and celebrate those other jobs that are not?
It sounds like you’re not suggesting that mass unemployment will happen, but that jobs will change. I think one thing that will happen is that a lot of desirable jobs are going to disappear. Think of the white-collar job where you’re sitting in front of a computer and you’re doing something predictable and routine, cranking out the same report again and again. It’s a very desirable high-paying job that people go to college to get and that job is going to be threatened, but the maid cleaning the hotel room is going to be safe.
I don’t deny that, but what I do deny is when people say, oh, that’s AI and robots doing that. As I say, I think this is more down to digitalization. I agree, but it’s also true that AI is going to be deployed on that platform, so things may move even faster.
Yes, it certainly makes it easier to deploy AI given that platform. The other worry, of course, is that the platform is built on totally insecure components that can get hacked by anyone.
Watch Slaughterbots take out the “bad guys”
Be afraid. Be very afraid. Those lines from the 1986 film The Fly only begin to describe the horror of slaughterbots—AI drones small enough to land in a human hand but smart enough to pick out a specific human target and deadly enough to assassinate that victim instantly with a single blow. The tiny slaughterbot accomplishes its dirty work with widefield cameras, tactical sensors and facial-recognition processors. It reacts 100 times faster than a human and moves in ways that defy sniper fire. Its miniscule three grams of shaped explosives detonate in the middle of the chosen victim’s forehead. In a video demonstration reminiscent of a TED Talks presentation, a clean-cut narrator dressed in a suit and T-shirt introduces the slaughterbot. The device separates the “good guys” and “bad guys,” eliminating the latter, the narrator enthuses. He explains the death blow and shows a brief video-within-a-video of the drone in action as the courier of death. “Did you see that?” the narrator exclaims. “That little bang is enough to penetrate the skull and destroy the contents.” The video of the talk went viral in 2017 and has attracted nearly 3 million views on YouTube. In it, the narrator points to giant screens behind the stage that show hapless victims scurrying in every direction to no avail. “Now that is an airstrike of surgical precision,” he intones as the miniature mechanical beasts single out and exterminate their prey. Thankfully, it’s all a put-on. The Future of Life Institute and computer scientist and AI maven Stuart J. Russell of the University of California, Berkeley, created the seven-minute video to warn of the potential dangers of autonomous weapons. The technology for slaughterbots doesn’t exist. But it might in the near future, and that’s what worries arms-control advocates. Their message emerges clearly in their slaughterbot video: Be very afraid.
Predicting an AI future amounts to a power game for isolated academics who live in a bubble away from the real world 20
luckbox | june 2019
5/2/19 10:58 AM
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