Ex-Google chief says AI will view humans as ‘scum’ and create ‘killing machines’

AI is likely to view humans as "scum" who need to be controlled – and could easily create its own "killing machines", a tech guru has warned.

Mo Gawdat, former chief business officer for Google's research and development wing called X, fears a real-life dystopian future akin to that of Will Smith's sci-fi movie I, Robot, in which artificial intelligence decides it needs to take over and cull people.

Though Gawdat believes such a showdown is still "a bit far away" he has warned humanity is set to give technology enough power to dictate its own agenda.

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He said AI will probably take a dim view of human behaviour.

Google X was founded to try to solve "humanity’s great problems" by inventing radical technology.

Gawdat, 55, told the Secret Leaders podcast: "Now that ChatGPT is upon us everyone is waking up and saying 'panic panic, let's do something about it'.

"If you look at the way your mind is thinking you're thinking about the applications, about AI completely wiping us out.

"You're not thinking about the in-between.

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"In-between is where the issue is – between now and the time AI can generate its own computer power and do installations itself through robotic arms.

"It does have the agency to create killing machines because humans are creating them so AI might use it to dictate an agenda like the movie I, Robot.

"But that is still a bit far away.

"What is in the middle is the process of getting us there.

"Humanity is going to decide to dedicate more power to those machines."

Gawdat said it made no sense to simply demonise AI because humanity would end up putting itself at risk.

"It is humanity which is the threat," he said.

"The question would be probabilities – how likely is AI to think of us as scum today?

"Very high.

"Because it is not intelligent enough to see beyond the obvious and because we are scum.

"What we show in the real world is the worst of us.

"We're fake on social media, we're rude, we're angry, or we're lying on social media."

Even if humanity wanted to get rid of AI Gawdat does not think it would now be possible due to the competitiveness of tech giants which have so much money invested in it.

"AI has already happened and there is no stopping it," he said.

"Very prominent scientists and business leaders are saying, 'Let's halt the development of AI'.

"But this will never happen, not because of tech issues but because of the business dilemma.

"If Google is developing AI and fears Facebook will beat them they will not stop because they have absolute certainty that if they stop, someone else will not.

"The US will not stop because they know China is developing AI.

"We built a human system, not a tech system, that will prevent us from stopping."

SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter billionaire Elon Musk warned emerging AI technology was a "double-edged sword" and if it "goes wrong" it could "destroy humanity".

He said: "There’s a strong probability that it will make life much better and that we’ll have an age of abundance.

"And there’s some chance that it goes wrong and destroys humanity.

"Hopefully that chance is small.

"But it’s not zero.

"I think we want to take whatever actions we can think of to minimise the probability that AI goes wrong.”

Musk, 51, co-founded OpenAI – the start-up behind ChatGPT – and initially championed the implementation of AI tech into society before leaving the company in 2018.

He launched X.AI as a rival chatbot but now believes the rapidity of development is a risk for "society and humanity".

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