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Artificial Intelligence

ARTICLE | | BY Carlos Blanco


Carlos Blanco

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"The development of technology must run in parallel with the growth of our ethical conscience”

I think that one of the most important topics about which we all need to reflect is the future role of Artificial Intelligence. AI must be at the service of human beings, not the other way around. The same ethical conscience that we have developed in connection with nuclear weapons and other alarming results of scientific progress, capable of destroying humanity, must help us to properly regulate the power of cognitive machines, of thinking machines, of these wonderful fruits of our creativity that, left to themselves, can endanger the future of our species.

No one questions the need to control the number of nuclear weapons, until finally abolishing them, because only in this way will we eradicate the real danger they exhibit. The same could be said of bacteriological weapons, and of any other instrument of mass destruction. Fear of their effects does not completely protect us from these dark creations of human intelligence: only their abolition dissipates the extreme risk they pose.

Artificial intelligence can be even more destructive than these weapons. Machines much smarter than us could find far more sophisticated and deadly ways to destroy us. If an intelligent species like ours has produced nuclear weapons, what could a higher mind not invent? Therefore, no one should doubt that artificial intelligence cannot be left in the hands of engineers and computer scientists: we must all decide what to do with a technology whose consequences could be devastating for the very existence of humanity. The development of technology must run in parallel with the growth of our ethical conscience; otherwise, technology will eventually absorb us, and the means will become the ends. Blindly trusting that artificial intelligence, having theoretically achieved greater cognitive power than the human brain, would somehow learn to control itself in order to be beneficial to our species, is extremely naive. What if such superior intelligence decides to enslave us, or to dispense with us definitively? What if, after all, it turns against us?

Let us use artificial intelligence to improve the human world, not to destroy it. Let us control artificial intelligence so that it does not control us.

About the Author(s)

Carlos Blanco
Professor, Comillas Pontifical University, Spain; Fellow, World Academy of Art & Science