In his speech at the Web Summit 2017 in Lisbon, Stephen Hawking, one of the greatest minds of this world, has confirmed the best and the worst of what humanity might see in the future — the dawn of a new humanity — powered by the Artificial Intelligence revolution.
From the advantages that the AI revolution can provide for the cause of the humanity to the drawbacks and dangers that this technology brings – there are a plethora of opportunities for AI in the new world. This is what Stephen Hawking stated in his keynote address:
“We stand on the threshold of a brave new world. Success in creating effective AI, could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization. Or the worst. We just don't know. So we cannot know if we will be infinitely helped by AI, or ignored by it and side-lined, or conceivably destroyed by it. Unless we learn how to prepare for, and avoid, the potential risks, AI could be the worst event in the history of our civilization. It brings dangers, like powerful autonomous weapons, or new ways for the few to oppress the many. It could bring great disruption to our economy.”
From the worst to the best, Hawking also mentioned the potential advantages that this infant technology can render, if humans use it with caution.
Stephen remarked that, “I am an optimist and I believe that we can create AI for the good of the world. That it can work in harmony with us. We simply need to be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management, and prepare for its consequences well in advance. Our AI systems must do what we want them to do, for the benefit of humanity. We cannot predict what we might achieve when our own minds are amplified by AI. Perhaps with the tools of this new technological revolution, we will be able to undo some of the damage done to the natural world by the last one, industrialization. We will aim to finally eradicate disease and poverty. Every aspect of our lives will be transformed. We all have a role to play in making sure that we, and the next generation, have not just the opportunity, but the determination, to engage fully with the study of science at an early level, so that we can go on to fulfill our potential, and create a better world for the whole human race,” he explained. We need to take learning beyond a theoretical discussion of how AI should be, and take action to make sure we plan for how it can be. You all have the potential to push the boundaries of what is accepted, or expected, and to think big. We stand on the threshold of a brave new world. It is an exciting, if precarious, place to be and you are the pioneers.
Professor Hawking was invited to speak at Web Summit by Feedzai, an AI company specializing in fraud prevention.