Microsoft announced it has built a new supercomputer that will be used to train artificial intelligence models — meaning, develop new technology with human-like capacity.
Making humans out of machines: it’s been the dream of the mad A.I. scientists from day one.
It’s the reason Tesla co-founder and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has issued warning after warning about the need to control A.I. development, or else face destruction of humanity.
“[A.I.] is a fundamental existential risk for human civilization,” Musk said in July 2017, as The Independent reported.
“A.I.’s a rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive,” Musk said at the same time.
“[With A.I.], there’s a lot of risk in concentration of power. So if AGI [artificial general intelligence] represents an extreme level of power, should that be controlled by a few people at Google with no oversight?” he said in November 2017.
“Mark my words — A.I. is far more dangerous than nukes,’ he said, in March 2018.
“[A.I. could create] an immortal dictator from which we can never escape,” he said in April 2018.
“Artificial intelligence isn’t necessarily bad, but it will operate outside of human control,” he said in September 2018.
“If advanced AI (beyond basic bots) hasn’t been applied to manipulate social media, it won’t be long before it is,” he tweeted in September 2019.
Get the picture?
The new supercomputer Microsoft built is going to be used to train OpenAI’s models — OpenAI being the company funded in part by none other than Musk in 2015. Musk has since left; Sam Altman now heads up the endeavor.
Of course, plenty think Musk is off-base when it comes to artificial intelligence.
“He is sensationalist,” said one A.I. executive quoted in CNBC just this month, in reference to Musk. “He veers wildly between openly worrying about the downside risk of the technology and then hyping the artificial general intelligence agenda.”
And yet — here we are: Microsoft “is working to create artificial general intelligence, or AI that is capable of outperforming humans,” Yahoo! Finance reported.
We have met the enemy, and he is us.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.