News  |    |  March 12, 2016

The momentous advance in artificial intelligence demands a new set of ethics

News article by Jason Millar.
Published in The Guardian.


In a dramatic man versus machine encounter, AlphaGo has secured its third, decisive victory against a renowned Go player. With scientists amazed at how fast AI is developing, it’s vital that humans stay in control.

Let us all raise a glass to AlphaGo and mark another big moment in the advance of artificial intelligence and then perhaps start to worry. AlphaGo, Google DeepMind’s game of Go-playing AI just bested the best Go-playing human currently alive, the renowned Lee Sedol. This was not supposed to happen. At least, not for a while. An artificial intelligence capable of beating the best humans at the game was predicted to be 10 years away.

But as we drink to its early arrival, we should also begin trying to understand what the surprise means for the future – with regard, chiefly, to the ethics and governance implications that stretch far beyond a game.

As AlphaGo and AIs like it become more sophisticated – commonly outperforming us at tasks once thought to be uniquely human – will we feel pressured to relinquish control to the machines? [ . . . ]