The statement was made by Yuval Harari, an Israeli historian, writer, and professor who is known for his work in the field of popular science.
Harari has been noted for his ability to communicate complex topics in an accessible manner and for his ability to analyze issues related to history, technology, and human evolution. With this in mind, he was recently interviewed by The Economist about the future of artificial intelligence (AI) . And what he said sounds like a warning to our species.
«AI is the end of the human story. “Not the end of history, but the end of human-dominated history,” said the professor in response to the dizzying advances expected from this emerging technology in the coming years. “The story will continue, but with someone else in control.”
To explain this, he later resorted to an interesting analogy.
«I tend more to think in terms of an alien invasion. Like a fleet of spaceships from the planet Zircon or whatever you want to call it, with highly intelligent beings, who will be here in five years and will conquer the planet. Maybe that’s good, with their intelligence they could solve problems like cancer or climate change, but we’re not sure.”
“This is what we are facing, except that the aliens are not coming in spaceships from the planet Zircon, but from the laboratory,” he added.
The historian also highlighted that we are living in an unprecedented moment in the history of our species, in which we are collectively faced with something with the capacity to generate ideas and improve ourselves.
«We know that AI is going to become highly intelligent and that it has the potential to acquire consciousness and will of its own. And that is a dangerous mix. Something we had never faced before. Atomic bombs did not have the potential to have will, nor did the first printing press. “But this is.”
To prevent AIs from taking control of us, Harari proposes creating new and reliable institutions that strictly regulate them, since at the moment only the companies behind this technology really know what is happening and not the governments.
“Just as counterfeiting of money was regulated to avoid financial chaos, human counterfeiting by AIs must be regulated,” he concluded.
Below is the full interview, where AI expert Mustafa Suleyman also participated, creating interesting counterpoints:
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