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Surprising Science

AI Killswitch: Google’s Plan to Stop the Robot Apocalypse

Google’s DeepMind and the Future of Humanity Institute are trying to find a way for human operators to stay in control if artificial intelligence starts acting out. 

Machine intelligence continues to advance; in the span of a few years we’ve seen a robot write a book (with  human assistance) and become our personal drivers. As this technology continues to advance, many wonder how long it will take for artificial intelligence to outgrow us. 

As you might expect, pinning down a time frame is difficult.

Not too long ago, a journalist asked a group of the brightest minds in artificial intelligence when machines would takeover humanity — the room was divided in its response. Futurist Michio Kaku was one of the scientists in that room, and he recalled the conflicting dates:

“Among the top people assembled in one place the answers were anything from 20 years in the future to 1,000 years in the future—with some AI experts saying never. Some people put it at 2029,” he said. “2029, that’s going to be the moment of truth that one day a robot will wake up, wake up in the laboratory, look around and say, ‘I am aware. I’m just as smart as you. In fact, I could be even smarter if I put a few more chips in my brain.’”


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