Google wants to discuss the ethics of artificial intelligence

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Most experts can agree that the development of artificial intelligence is something that should be done with a degree of caution, although they can’t agree on which level of caution should be used, with people like Elon Musk claiming that AI could potentially destroy the human race. This is the kind of things that DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis wants to avoid, which is why one of the requirements for Google acquiring his AI startup was that the technology not be used in warfare, and that Google form an internal ethics committee. Now, Hassabis and some of the top minds in the field will be meeting in New York next year to discuss the ethics of artificial intelligence. 

To some it’s scary and to others it’s exciting, but the scientific consensus is that artificial intelligence will have a drastic impact on humanity, probably within our lifetimes. What exactly that will look like is a debated range of sci-fi scenarios. Stephen Hawking made waves when he claimed that the development of AI could end the human race. While real-life Tony Stark Elon Musk and Microsoft’s Bill Gates chimed in with concerns of their own, other experts believe the threat of artificial intelligence has been exaggerated. What everyone can agree on is that developing intelligence is something we should be very, very careful with. When Google purchased DeepMind to the tune £400 million, the London-based AI startup had some pretty firm ground-rules regarding the two companies’ relationship. Demis Hassabis, the DeepMind CEO, said that a condition to their acquisition by Google was for Google to form an internal ethics committee. DeepMind also refuses to allow any of their technology to be used for weapons or military interests. Hassabis has announced that he and many of the top minds currently working with AI research will be meeting in New York in early 2016 to discuss and debate ethical issues surrounding their work. Although no official list of participants has been released, big players such as Apple and Facebook will almost certainly have representatives present.

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