Will artificial intelligence improve society or cause catastrophic failures?

Up to now, we’ve applied technologies to automate processes within human-prescribed systems and objectives. Artificial intelligence, in contrast, is able to prescribe its own objectives. While we tout AI’s potential benefits for business and society, it’s worth noting how little we really know about what comes next.

I was reminded of this in February when I attended a celebration of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s new Schwarzman College of Computing. Onstage, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman interviewed former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Mr. Friedman asked whether the AI revolution presages a New Enlightenment or a New Dark Age. “We don’t know,” replied Mr. Kissinger. “We don’t understand how to relate the many choices offered to us by AI to human criteria like ethics, or even to define what those criteria are.”

Last year, the Atlantic published “How the Enlightenment Ends,” Mr. Kissinger’s thoughts on how our understanding of AI’s technical knowledge was far ahead of our understanding of its political, social and human implications, as well as its long-term impact on the evolution of history.

Here is a summary of his three main areas of concern.

Read full article here.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger – Wall Street Journal – May 10, 2019.

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