When we don’t know much about a new technology, we talk in generalisations. Those generalisations are often also extreme: the utopian drives of those who are developing it on one hand, and the dystopian visions that help society look before it leaps on the other.
Amazon is giving Alexa eyes. And it’s going to let her judge your outfits. The newly announced Echo Look is a virtual assistant with a microphone and a camera that’s designed to go somewhere in your bedroom, bathroom, or wherever the hell you get dressed.
It remains one of the most famous television advertisements broadcast, capturing the spirit of its age.
Chased by riot police, a blonde, female runner sprints through a lifeless, monochrome crowd carrying a sledgehammer.
It’s easy to get carried away with dystopian visions of sentient machines that rebel against their human creators. However, the real risk posed by AI – at least in the near term – is much more insidious.
It’s far more likely that robots would inadvertently harm or frustrate humans while carrying out our orders than they would become conscious and rise up against us.
Artificial intelligence will take over the world! Or so we’re told by the movies. We’re all doomed to become “house cats” if the machines so desire! Or so prominent experts like Elon Musk have warned.
Humbug, say Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky.