Artificial Intelligence: Friend or Foe

Stephen Hawking, the late, great physicist, was not ambiguous. “I think the development of artificial intelligence spells the end of the human race,” he said.

It’s certainly going to change things up a bit, computers being programmed to learn from their mistakes and think for themselves offering advances in development that could only be dreamed of several decades ago.

Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 classic “2001: A Space Odyssey” foretold a time when a computer named Hal choses of its own accord to kill an astronaut named Dave. Neo fights back against the machines in 1999’s "The Matrix." Science Fiction has been warning us about this, but that was fiction.

Now it’s reality as global powers secretly develop artificial intelligence as a means of algorithmic warfare.

“The risk with autonomous weapons is that people will use them as kind of poor man’s weapon of mass destruction, a poor man’s nuclear weapon,” cautions Dr. Stuart Jonathan Russell, a foremost authority on the topic in a VOA story. The potential of existential threat is there. “It is a race against time because the weapons are starting to emerge, the research is moving into development and development is moving into production.”

Advances in medicine and transportation and every aspect of life, including employment, will be touched by artificial intelligence, and the best for humanity may be yet to come.

Or not. As the field expands rapidly, we still don’t know.

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