Rise of the Machines: Keep an eye on AI, experts warn

March 12, 2016 by Mariëtte Le Roux
South Korea's Lee Se-Dol—one of the greatest modern players of the ancient board game Go—makes a move during his match against t
South Korea's Lee Se-Dol—one of the greatest modern players of the ancient board game Go—makes a move during his match against the AlphaGo supercomputer in Seoul, on March 12, 2016

A Google computer's stunning 3-0 victory in a Man-vs-Machine face-off over the ultimate board game highlights the need to keep Artificial Intelligence under human control, experts said Saturday.

The partly self-taught AlphaGo programme's defeat of Go grandmaster Lee Se-Dol showed AI was progressing faster than widely thought, they said—a highly symbolic moment in humanity's quest to create smart machines.

And while AI plays a key role in building a better, safer world, some fear the fast pace of development could finally leave humans outwitted by our own inventions.

AlphaGo's triumph "shows that the methods we do have are even more powerful than we first thought," said AI expert Stuart Russell of the University of California's Berkeley Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences department.

"The fact that AI methods are progressing much faster than expected makes the question of the long-term outcome more urgent," he told AFP by email.

"It will be necessary to develop an entirely new discipline of research in order to ensure that increasingly powerful AI systems remain completely under human control... there is a lot of work to do."

Until just five months ago, computer mastery of the 3,000-year-old game of Go, said to be the most complex ever invented, was to be at least a decade off.

Journalists watch live footage of the third game of the Google DeepMind Challenge Match between Lee Se-Dol and the AlphaGo super
Journalists watch live footage of the third game of the Google DeepMind Challenge Match between Lee Se-Dol and the AlphaGo supercomputer in Seoul, on March 12, 2016

But then AlphaGo beat European Go champ Fan Hui, and its creators decided to test the programme's real strength against Lee, one of the game's all-time masters.

Advance for science

Game-playing is a crucial measure of AI progress—it shows that a machine can execute a certain "intellectual" task better than humans.

A key test was when IBM's Deep Blue defeated chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 1997.

Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov was defeated by IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer in 1997
Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov was defeated by IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer in 1997

The game of Go is more complex than chess, and has more possible board configurations than there are atoms in the Universe.

Part of the reason for AlphaGo's success is that it is partly self taught—having played millions of games against itself after initial programming to figure out the game and hone its tactics through trial and error.

"It is not the beginning of the end of humanity. At least if we decide we want to aim for safe and beneficial AI, rather than just highly capable AI," Oxford University future technology specialist Anders Sandberg said of Lee's drubbing.

"But there is still a lot of research that needs to be done to get things right enough that we can trust (and take pride in!) our AIs."

'Deepmind' chief executive Demis Hassabis has stressed that AlphaGo's victory was not a defeat for humanity
'Deepmind' chief executive Demis Hassabis has stressed that AlphaGo's victory was not a defeat for humanity

AI offers the promise of a highly-efficient world in which robots take care of our sick, fly and drive us around safely, stock our fridges, plan our holidays, and do hazardous jobs humans should not or will not do.

In many ways it is already doing so.

But for some, unchecked AI development evokes apocalyptic images in which hostile machines enslave humanity.

Physicist Stephen Hawking, among the leading voices of caution, warning last year that smart computers may out-smart and out-manipulate humans, one day "potentially subduing us with weapons we cannot even understand."

The "Campaign to Stop Killer Robots" was launched in London in 2013
The "Campaign to Stop Killer Robots" was launched in London in 2013

AI specialist Jean-Gabriel Ganascia of the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, welcomed the match outcome as a major advance for scientific knowledge.

"I don't see why we would speak about fears. On the contrary, this raises hopes in many domains such as health and space exploration," he said.

AlphaGo co-developer Demis Hassabis has mooted the use of AlphaGo-type algorithms in tackling real-world problems—from predicting change impacts to complex disease analysis.

"In the end, the game is highly symbolic," said Sandberg, adding that as in computer mastery of chess, "the dramatic symbol quickly becomes commonplace".

"The AI that changes the world is not even recognized as AI, just automation—the algorithms routing Internet traffic, shipment logistics, processing images and text, stock market trading and so on," he said.

"The symbolic events are like peaks of waves, but it is the underlying flood we should be watching."

Explore further: Game over? New AI challenge to human smarts (Update)

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rderkis
1.7 / 5 (3) Mar 12, 2016
We had better wake up. It is/will be AI versus humans, and we will lose. We need to boost our IQ as soon as possible by putting as much money and research into increasing our IQ as we can. For the first time in history we can intentionally evolve using gene splicing and/or nootropics.
Most the other breakthroughs we pour money into will be solved quickly once our IQ is increased, if we put that money into research on increasing our intelligence.
Don't get me wrong, I am not talking about anything to wild here. The average IQ is 100. Einstein had about 160. That's a little over a 50% increase. If we could boost the whole human race's IQ 30% we would see significant advances in all research. Including further IQ boosting.
EyeNStein
not rated yet Mar 12, 2016
I'll be keeping an eye on AI all right: To be less dumb.
I hope Google learns from their new AlphaGo AI to improve their customer facing "Google Now" AI and forces Cortana and SIRI to follow suit.
Though major breakthroughs will have to wait for mainstream AI neural net co-processors to appear. (Or next gen CPU's which hardware-virtualise massively parallel CPU/GPU or AI cores on demand.)
BSD
5 / 5 (1) Mar 13, 2016
There will always be the on/off switch and the plug in the power point.
viko_mx
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 13, 2016
Another one fictional boogeyman. It does not exist such thing as AI.
IT is human intelligence formalized in computer algorithm. Nothing more.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Mar 13, 2016
A Google computer's stunning 3-0 victory

As of latest news it's 3-1. It's important to note that one should not jump to the conclusion that because a human cannot beat it that it therefore is flawless (only that it is less flawed than a human at this game)

Most the other breakthroughs we pour money into will be solved quickly once our IQ is increased,

Increased IQ does not automatically equal better ethics. Better IQ also means smarter con-men

The average IQ is 100.

The average IQ is always 100. That's how IQ is defined. If the average human today were as smart as Einstein the average IQ would still be 100.

Einstein had about 160. That's a little over a 50% increase

It is way more than that because IQ is not a linear distribution. An IQ of 160 is in the upper 0.005 percentile.

An increase of average IQ by 50% would land someone with a (then) IQ of 100 on today's chart at about 110.
Cave_Man
not rated yet Mar 13, 2016
Yeah we can totally control all of our creations, thats why GMO's are so well contained and we aren't missing and nuclear bombs.
Cave_Man
not rated yet Mar 13, 2016
Another one fictional boogeyman. It does not exist such thing as AI.
IT is human intelligence formalized in computer algorithm. Nothing more.


There are learning algorithms, though, which acquire new data and build new operational codes and algorithms based on newly acquired data. The new data can effectively change how the initial algorithm assimilates new data, this a very scary step toward INDEPENDENT AI.

richardnunziata
4 / 5 (1) Mar 13, 2016
The crowed loves a villain. AlphaGo is a threat only to the mongers of fear. The future of this tech will free mankind of the real villain... corruption and the ideology of fear based politics.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Mar 14, 2016
The crowed loves a villain. AlphaGo is a threat only to the mongers of fear. The future of this tech will free mankind of the real villain... corruption and the ideology of fear based politics.

While I don't think AlphaGo is a villain I don't share your optimism. AlphaGo is a technology. Technologies will be used for good or bad by people (because some people are good and some people are bad). If history has anything to teach us then it's that tech by itself is not going to solve our problems. Humans must learn to live with one another

AI has to be trained. You can train it to stabilize/destabilize markets, help diagnose diseases, as easily as turning it into an adaptable killer machine.. And we'll see all of these uses if I'm any judge.
rderkis
not rated yet Mar 14, 2016
I don't know about the rest of you but I believe the brain is just a vary efficient, vary complicated type of biological computer. And if it is a computer then someday we will be able to duplicate the performance. I am 69 and realize it is hard to be objective about what we don't want to believe.

As to whether it will be good or bad, who knows? Our smartest people say it will be vary dangerous to go there. But since when do we listen and believe anyone is smarter then us?

Myself, I think a AI will get smart so fast, it will have no use for us or even the earth and just leave to do its own thing, what ever that is.

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