A self-driving vehicle was recently seen feigning an attempt to flee after being stopped by police on a road in San Francisco in the USA. After analysis, it was a maneuver carried out in order to respect the highway code. That is to say the current progress in robotics and artificial intelligence. Elon Musk has warmed the attention of observers in this area with the announcement of the future entry into production of Tesla’s new humanoid robot Optimus. At the same time, it rekindles the debate about whether robots will eventually surpass humans in intelligence.
The Tesla Optimus was presented for the first time in 2021 during the day dedicated to artificial intelligence within the company. Elon Musk then stressed that it would not be a vague idea, but a real product. Now, about nine months later, it’s gotten a little more specific. The machine would weigh about 60 kg and measure about 1.77 m. It will be controlled by voice recognition. The robot can move at a speed of up to eight kilometers per hour and can carry objects weighing 20 kilograms. When in the resting position, Optimus is said to be able to lift nearly 70 kilograms, with each arm managing 4.5 kilograms when pulled. Its entry into production is scheduled for the year 2023. The robot will take care of tasks that are either very repetitive and therefore boring for humans or those that are dangerous.
These developments should take on an even greater scale in the not-too-distant future with the arrival of so-called general artificial intelligence (AGI). From 2017 (where Elon Musk claimed that artificial intelligence is a fundamental risk for humanity) to 2020 through 2019 (where he declared that AI is far more dangerous than nuclear weapons), the position of the billionaire of Tech. on the issue therefore remains constant. Elon Musk’s fears relate in particular to the fact that advances in the sector could lead to so-called general artificial intelligence (AGI). This would then be the door open to the fulfillment of the apocalypse. Research teams like that of OpenAI are launched on this corridor. If we refer to feedback from scientists working in the field, the AGI could fall on us in 5 to 10 years.
The machines would then be endowed with common sense. At the stage of general artificial intelligence, they would be capable of causal reflection, that is to say the ability to reason about why things happen. This is the level that research teams in the field are aiming for.
I have been issuing this alert for ten years. We should be worried about where artificial intelligence is heading. The people I see getting the most wrong on this subject are the very smart ones, because they can’t imagine that a computer could be much smarter than them. This is the flaw in their reasoning. They are just a lot dumber than they think, Elon Musk said in one of his previous outings.
This is also why his company Neuralink is working on brain-machine interfaces to be inserted into the skull to prepare humanity for a disastrous future where robots will dominate it. These have been ready in principle since the middle of 2019 for testing on humans. The company continues to play the safety card by conducting animal testing. The latest was about a monkey that received a brain implant. Thanks to the latter, he can play video games by using his mind. The Californian company Synchron has already carried out trials of brain implants the size of paperclips on human patients. They were able to click and type on the computer without lifting a finger.
While waiting to be there, the current artificial intelligence shows significant limits. Although it is already relied on to diagnose illnesses, perform translations or even transcribe speech, the fact is that it can be confused by scenarios for which it has not been trained beforehand. By way of illustration, an artificial intelligence system trained to identify cats must go through another learning process to be able to serve the recognition of dogs, with the risk of losing part of the expertise acquired on the initial task.
The question is whether the derivatives could not be worse with a general artificial intelligence then surfaces. Worst of all would be if the machine ended up turning against its creator. Each year, the Holy Father asks Catholics around the world to dedicate a specific prayer intention for each month. For the month of November 2020, Pope Francis asked to pray that advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will always be at the service of humanity. His call gives new life to questions about the possibility of the opposite situation occurring: a humanity dominated by the machine as predicted by many cinematographic productions like Terminator, Matrix or i-Robot.
Are fears that robots will outwit humans more sensationalized than anything else?
Does the fact that there is no AGI at the moment nullify Elon Musk’s predictions?
Is it impossible for research in this area to lead to general artificial intelligence?
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