Washington thinktank claims SpaceX founder, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking, are contributing to ‘alarmist’ concern about machine intelligence
By Emily Price, The Guardian
It has been a remarkable year for Elon Musk, the CEO of the high-end electric car company Tesla and SpaceX, which on Monday announced that it had successfully launched and then returned a rocket to Earth.
His pioneering contribution towards cheaper, and less resource-intensive transportation means he is generally considered one of technology’s most successful innovators. Yet Musk has just been labelled “a luddite” by a Washington-based policy thinktank the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, which shortlisted him for its annual Luddite Awards.
The Luddite Award is an annual award named after an Englishman named Ned Ludd, who was behind a movement to destroy mechanized looms in the early 19th century. The award is given to the worst offender of the year when it comes to foiling technological progress. While many might consider a “luddite” as someone who is a late adopter of technology, the group defines it as “someone who seeks to hold back the introduction of new technologies”.
Here’s the full list of this year’s nominees:
- Alarmists tout an artificial intelligence (AI) apocalypse
- Advocates seek a ban on “killer robots”
- States limit automatic license plate readers
- Europe, China, and others choose taxi drivers over car-sharing passengers
- The paper industry opposes e-labeling
- California’s governor vetoes RFID in driver’s licenses
- Wyoming outlaws citizen science
- The Federal Communications Commission limits broadband innovation
- The Center for Food Safety fights genetically improved food
- Ohio and others ban red light cameras
Alongside Microsoft founder Bill Gates and British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, Musk is labelled an “alarmist” who is touting an existential threat if humans were to lose control of artificial intelligence.
The group acknowledges that machine paranoia has been present in pop culture for more than 200 years, and is spread through things like books, music, and movies, including recent films the Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Terminator: Genisys, which both have digital villains.
“In his book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, Oxford professor Nick Bostrom reflected the general fear that ‘superintelligence’ in machines could outperform ‘the best human minds in every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills’. He argues that artificial intelligence will advance to a point where its goals are no longer compatible with that of humans and, as a result, superintelligent machines will seek to enslave or exterminate us,” states IFIT.
“Most of us are rightly amazed at AI applications like IBM’s Watson, our Nest thermostat that learns, and other learning devices. But to say that these devices and systems will be smart enough to take over the world is to misunderstand what AI is and where it stands today.
“Whether such systems will ever develop full autonomy is a debatable question, but what should not be debatable is that this possible future is a long, long way off (more like a century than a decade), and it is therefore premature to be worrying about ‘Skynet’ becoming self-aware. Raising such sci-fi doomsday scenarios just makes it harder for the public, policymakers, and scientists to support more funding for AI research.”
Musk mentioned the Terminator movies in a CNBC interview earlier this year where he discussed some of his concerns with AI.
“Yeah. I mean, I don’t think – in the movie Terminator, they didn’t create AI to – they didn’t expect, you know some sort of Terminator-like outcome,” he said. “It is sort of like the Monty Python thing: Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition. It’s just – you know, but you have to be careful.”
When asked what AI should be used for, Musk said: “I don’t know. But there are some scary outcomes. And we should try to make sure the outcomes are good, not bad.”
ITIF feels that the way AI is being portrayed will ultimately have a negative effect on the advancement of the technology.
Despite his cautionary statements, Musk also recently offered financial backing to OpenAI, a non-profit artificial intelligence research company. The group’s goal is to “advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return”, it states.
Rather than choose a winner on its own, the ITIF has put all 10 of the final contenders up for a public vote. The public can vote on who should be crowned 2015’s winner now, with the result expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Trump could use Antifa conspiracy theories to ‘investigate his political opponents’: Ex-FBI assistant director
According to former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi, there are far more white supremacists and anti-government agitators infiltrating the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests than Antifa. He fears Trump will use Antifa as an excuse to investigate his political opponents.
Speaking to MSNBC on Sunday evening, Figliuzzi told host Brian Williams that his sources in law enforcement are telling him that President Donald Trump doesn't have his facts straight on Antifa.
"We're seeing components of legitimate frustrated protesters responding to Mr. Floyd's demise and others," explained Figliuzzi. "Then we are seeing people who are exploiting this for their own purposes, and some of them are more than just opportunistic criminals. Some of them are organized, and some of them have diverse agendas but are coming together to wreak havoc. And I think what we need to pay attention to here is what we have evidence of, what we don't have evidence of, and what we're hearing from the White House and the attorney general."
Trump criticized as ‘most cowardly tough guy’ for Twitterstorm while being rushed to protective underground bunker
Twitter couldn't help but notice that President Donald Trump was talking tough while hiding in his underground bunker.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Trush was rushed to the underground bunker that has only been used during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks when passenger planes were headed to Washington, D.C. Trump, by contrast, didn't experience a terrorist threat, a few hundred protesters surrounded the White House complex, which is blocked off by several fences and surrounded by Secret Service and police.
It was something that many noticed contrasted with former Vice President Joe Biden, who spent Sunday listening to the concerns from protesters on the streets of his hometown.
‘Rattled’ Trump rushed to the bunker as protesters surrounded the White House: report
The New York Times is reporting that President Donald Trump rushed to the bunker as protesters surrounded the White House.
On Friday, as protests continued escalating across the United States, those standing against police brutality and demanding action came to the White House. It was only a few hundred people, far eclipsed by the crowd marching through the streets of Washington, D.C. on Sunday.
The Secret Service hasn't said what prompted them to take Trump to the underground bunker on Friday, but there is a protocol to get him to safety if they feel the White House and the president are threatened. The only other notorious use of the bunker was when Vice President Dick Cheney was brought on Sept. 11, 2001, as planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.