Elite Scientists Have Told the Pentagon That AI Won’t Threaten Humanity


DARPA's ACTUV uncrewed submarine tracker. Image: DARPA
DARPA’s ACTUV uncrewed submarine tracker. Image: DARPA
A new report authored by a group of independent US scientists advising the US Dept. of Defense (DoD) on artificial intelligence (AI) claims that perceived existential threats to humanity posed by the technology, such as drones seen by the public as killer robots, are at best “uninformed”.

By Ben Sullivan | MOTHERBOARD

Still, the scientists acknowledge that AI will be integral to most future DoD systems and platforms, but AI that could act like a human “is at most a small part of AI’s relevance to the DoD mission”. Instead, a key application area of AI for the DoD is in augmenting human performance.

Perspectives on Research in Artificial Intelligence and Artificial General Intelligence Relevant to DoD, first reported by Steven Aftergood at the Federation of American Scientists, has been researched and written by scientists belonging to JASON, the historically secretive organization that counsels the US government on scientific matters.

Outlining the potential use cases of AI for the DoD, the JASON scientists make sure to point out that the growing public suspicion of AI is “not always based on fact”, especially when it comes to military technologies. Highlighting SpaceX boss Elon Musk’s opinion that AI “is our biggest existential threat” as an example of this, the report argues that these purported threats “do not align with the most rapidly advancing current research directions of AI as a field, but rather spring from dire predictions about one small area of research within AI, Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)”.

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