([London] Times) Can Mo Gawdat save the world from artificial intelligence?

Amid all this, he says, AI was an afterthought, if even that. And then, it was exciting. In 2009, Google X left an AI watching YouTube. All by itself, it started hunting for cat videos. “I’m a geek,” says Mo. “I freaking loved it. I was dying on this. I was, like, imagine what we can create!”

A few years later, Google bought DeepMind, the AI start-up. Now near the top, Mo was at an early confidential briefing by a co-founder, Demis Hassabis, about what his toys could do. Basically, they were learning to play computer games on an Atari. “After four hours [the AI] started to play really well,” he says. “After five hours it started to figure out new strategies. After six hours it was the best player on the planet.”

Still, he was thrilled. “Geek,” he reminds me. “Oh my God,” he thought at the time. “We’re going to build amazing things that are going to change even more people’s lives.” But then came the arm and the yellow ball. “And it completely froze me,” he says. He saw where this was going. The only way it could go. “The reality is,” he says, “we’re creating God.”

Only it’s worse than that. “Because if you think about it,” he says, “every technology we have ever built magnifies human abilities. You can walk at 5mph, or you can get in a car and drive at 200mph. Now, this technology is going to do two things. It’s going to magnify humanity a millionfold. A billionfold. And it’s going to be autonomous.”

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