Connect with us

Artificial Intelligence

Scientists pledge not to build AIs which kill without oversight

Published

on

Thousands of scientists have signed a pledge not to have any role in building AIs which have the ability to kill without human oversight.

When many think of AI, they at least give some passing thought of rogue AIs seen in sci-fi movies such as the infamous Skynet in Terminator.

In an ideal world, AI would never be used in any military capacity. However, it was almost certainly be developed one way or another because of the advantage it would provide to an adversary without similar capabilities.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, when asked his thoughts on AI, recently said: “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”

Putin’s words sparked fears of a race in AI development similar to that of the nuclear arms race, and one which could be potentially reckless.

Rather than attempting to stop military AI development, a more attainable goal is to at least ensure any AI decision to kill is subject to human oversight.

Demis Hassabis at Google DeepMind and Elon Musk from SpaceX are among the more than 2,400 scientists who signed the pledge not to develop AI or robots which kill without human oversight.

The pledge was created by The Future of Life Institute and calls on governments to agree on laws and regulations that stigmatise and effectively ban the development of killer robots.

“We the undersigned agree that the decision to take a human life should never be delegated to a machine,” the pledge reads. It goes on to warn “lethal autonomous weapons, selecting and engaging targets without human intervention, would be dangerously destabilizing for every country and individual.”

PROGRAMMING HUMANITY

Human compassion is difficult to program, we’re certainly many years away from being able to do so. However, it’s vital when it comes to life-or-death matters.

Consider a missile defense AI set up to protect a nation. Based on pure logic, it may determine that wiping out another nation which begins a missile program is the best way to protect its own. Humans would take into account these are people’s lives and seeking alternatives such as diplomatic resolutions should be sought.

Robots may one day be used for policing to reduce the risk to human officers. They could be armed, with firearms or tasers, but the responsibility to fire should always come down to a human operator.

Although it will undoubtedly improve with time, AI has been proven to have a serious bias problem. A 2010 study by researchers at NIST and the University of Texas in Dallas found that algorithms designed and tested in East Asia are better at recognising East Asians, while those designed in Western countries are more accurate at detecting Caucasians.

An armed robot who mistakenly identifies someone for another person could end up killing that individual simply due to a flaw with its algorithms. Confirming the AI’s assessment with a human operator may be enough to prevent such a disaster.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Artificial Intelligence

China plans new era of sea power with unmanned AI submarines

Published

on

China is planning to upgrade its naval power with unmanned AI submarines that aim to provide an edge over the fleets of their global counterparts.

A report by the South China Post on Sunday revealed Beijing’s plans to build the automated subs by the early 2020s in response to unmanned weapons being developed in the US.

The subs will be able to patrol areas in the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean that are home to disputed military bases.

While the expected cost of the submarines has not been disclosed, they’re likely to be cheaper than conventional submarines as they do not require life-supporting apparatus for humans. However, without a human crew, they’ll also need to be resilient enough to be at sea without onboard repairs possible.

The XLUUVs (Extra-Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicles) are much bigger than current underwater vehicles, will be able to dock as any other conventional submarine, and will carry a large amount of weaponry and equipment.

As a last resort, they could be used in automated ‘suicide’ attacks that scuttle the vessel but causes damage to an enemy’s ship that may or not be manned.

“The AI has no soul. It is perfect for this kind of job,” said Lin Yang, Chief Scientist on the project. “[An AI sub] can be instructed to take down a nuclear-powered submarine or other high-value targets. It can even perform a kamikaze strike.”

The AI element of the submarines will need to carry out many tasks including navigating often unpredictable waters, following patrol routes, identifying friendly or hostile ships, and making appropriate decisions.

It’s the decision-making that will cause the most concern as the AI is being designed not to seek input during the course of a mission.

The international norm being promoted by AI researchers is that any weaponised AI system will require human input to ultimately make a decision. Any news that China is following a policy of creating weaponised AIs that do not require human input should be of global concern.

Continue Reading

Artificial Intelligence

AI robots will solve underwater infrastructure damage checks

Published

on

Robots will be paired with a versatile AI that can quickly adapt to unpredictable conditions when examining underwater infrastructure.

Some of a nation’s most vital infrastructure hides beneath the water. The difficulty in accessing most of it, however, makes important damage checks infrequent.

Sending humans down requires significant training and can take several weeks to recover due to the often extreme depths. There are far more underwater structures than skilled divers to inspect them.

Robots have been designed to carry out some of these dangerous tasks. The problem is until now they’ve lacked the smarts to deal with the unpredictable and rapidly-changing nature of underwater conditions.

Researchers from Stevens Institute of Technology are working on algorithms which enable these underwater robots to check and protect infrastructure.

Their work is led by Brendan Englot, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stevens.

“There are so many difficult disturbances pushing the robot around, and there is often very poor visibility, making it hard to give a vehicle underwater the same situational awareness that a person would have just walking around on the ground or being up in the air,” says Englot.

Englot and his team are using reinforcement learning for training algorithms. Rather than use an exact mathematical model, the robot performs actions and observes whether it helps to attain its goal.

Through a case of trial-and-error, the algorithm is updated with the collected data to figure out the best ways to deal with changing underwater conditions. This will enable the robot to successfully manoeuvre and navigate even in previously unmapped areas.

A robot was recently sent on a mission to map a pier in Manhattan.

“We didn’t have a prior model of that pier,” says Englot. “We were able to just send our robot down and it was able to come back and successfully locate itself throughout the whole mission.”

The robots use sonar for data, widely regarded as the most reliable for undersea navigation. It works similar to a dolphin’s echolocation by measuring how long it takes for high-frequency chirps to bounce off nearby structures.

A pitfall with this approach is you’re only going to be able to receive imagery similar to a grayscale medical ultrasound. Englot and his team believe that once a structure has been mapped out, a second pass by the robot could use a camera for a high-resolution image of critical areas.

For now, it’s early days but Englot’s project is an example of how AI is enabling a new era for robotics that improves efficiency while reducing the risks to humans.

Continue Reading

Artificial Intelligence

Technology Trends That Will Dominate 2018

Published

on

  1. AI permeation. Artificial intelligence (AI), largely manifesting through machine learning algorithms, isn’t just getting better. It isn’t just getting more funding. It’s being incorporated into a more diverse range of applications. Rather than focusing on one goal, like mastering a game or communicating with humans, AI is starting to make an appearance in almost every new platform, app, or device, and that trend is only going to accelerate in 2018. We’re not at techno-pocalypse levels (and AI may never be sophisticated enough for us to reach that point), but by the end of 2018, AI will become even more of a mainstay in all forms of technology.

  2. Digital centralization. Over the past decade, we’ve seen the debut of many different types of devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and dozens of other “smart” appliances. We’ve also come to rely on lots of individual apps in our daily lives, including those for navigation to even changing the temperature of our house. Consumers are craving centralization; a convenient way to manage everything from as few devices and central locations as possible. Smart speakers are a good step in the right direction, but 2018 may influence the rise of something even better.

  3. 5G preparation. Though tech timelines rarely play out the way we think, it’s possible that we could have a 5G network in place—with 5G phones—by the end of 2019. 5G internet has the potential to be almost 10 times faster than 4G, making it even better than most home internet services. Accordingly, it has the potential to revolutionize how consumers use internet and how developers think about apps and streaming content. 2018, then, is going to be a year of massive preparation for engineers, developers, and consumers, as they gear up for a new generation of internet.

  4. Data overload. By now, every company in the world has realized the awesome power and commoditization of consumer data, and in 2018, data collection is going to become an even higher priority. With consumers talking to smart speakers throughout their day, and relying on digital devices for most of their daily tasks, companies will soon have access to—and start using—practically unlimited amounts of personal data. This has many implications, including reduced privacy, more personalized ads, and possibly more positive outcomes, such as better predictive algorithms in healthcare.

 

Continue Reading

Trending