Maybe not just yet. But control and containment of artificial intelligence is not an established or popular academic discipline. The research dollars go into learning systems, and especially into the headline-grabbing idea of self-driving cars. So who is watching the growth and development of autonomy in artificial systems? Software is already capable of self-replication, distributing itself around a network, and imaginative. We already have the potential for an ‘escaped system’.

Alan Turing’s paper on ‘Intelligent Machinery’, written in 1948, first put forward the idea that artificial things might be able to think for themselves. He said, in a talk given in 1951, ‘at some stage, we should have to expect the machines to take control’.  After 70 years, it’s time to refresh the debate. See the video of my presentation at USI in June 2018.

 

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