A German computer scientist known as the “father of AI” said fears over the technology are misplaced and there is no stopping artificial intelligence’s progress.
“You cannot stop it,” Jürgen Schmidhuber said of artificial intelligence and the current international race to build more powerful systems, according to The Guardian. “Surely not on an international level because one country might may have really different goals from another country. So, of course, they are not going to participate in some sort of moratorium.”
Schmidhuber worked on artificial neural networks in the 1990s, with his research later spawning language-processing models for technologies such as Google Translate, The Guardian reported.
He currently serves as the director of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology’s AI initiative in Saudi Arabia, and he states in his bio that he has been working on building “a self-improving Artificial Intelligence (AI) smarter than himself” since he was roughly 15 years old.
Schmidhuber said that he doesn’t believe anyone should try to halt progress on developing powerful artificial intelligence systems, arguing that “in 95% of all cases, AI research is really about our old motto, which is make human lives longer and healthier and easier.”
Schmidhuber also said that concerns over AI are misplaced and that developing AI-powered tools for good purposes will counter bad actors using the technology.
“It’s just that the same tools that are now being used to improve lives can be used by bad actors, but they can also be used against the bad actors,” he said, according to The Guardian.
“And I would be much more worried about the old dangers of nuclear bombs than about the new little dangers of AI that we see now.”
His comments come as other tech leaders and experts have sounded the alarm that the powerful technology poses risks to humanity. Tesla founder Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak joined thousands of other tech experts in signing a letter in March calling for AI labs to pause their research until safety measures are put in place.
Geoffrey Hinton, known as the “godfather of AI,” announced this month that he quit his job at Google to speak out on his tech fears. On Friday, Hinton said AI could pose “more urgent” risks to humanity than climate change – but even though he shares similar concerns to tech leaders such as Musk, he said pausing AI research at labs is “utterly unrealistic.”
“I’m in the camp that thinks this is an existential risk, and it’s close enough that we ought to be working very hard right now and putting a lot of resources into figuring out what we can do about it,” he told Reuters.
Schmidhuber, who has openly criticized Hinton for allegedly failing to cite fellow researchers in his studies, told The Guardian that AI will exceed human intelligence and ultimately benefit people as they use the AI systems, which follows comments he’s made in the past.
“I’ve been working on [AI] for several decades, since the ’80s basically, and I still believe it will be possible to witness that AIs are going to be much smarter than myself, such that I can retire,” Schmidhuber said in 2018.