Advanced artificial intelligence could pose a threat to "kill everyone" and there would be nothing humans could do to prevent it if it’s not regulated like nuclear weapons, experts warn.

Warning of a
Warning of a "literal arms race" among nation states and tech firms, experts called for global regulation to prevent AI from posing an actual threat to humanity when used for military purposes. (AP)

Tech firms, unless regulated, could eventually create “out-of-control” systems that could end up “eliminating the whole human race,” researchers told MPs in the United Kingdom.

The experts made the comments during a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee meeting, in which they highlighted both the negative and positive aspects of Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

According to Oxford University experts Michael Osborne, professor of machine learning at Oxford University, and researcher in engineering science Michael Cohen, AI can eliminate humanity when it eventually becomes more intelligent than us.

Warning of a “literal arms race” among nation states and tech firms, Professor Michael Osborne called for global regulation to prevent AI from posing an actual threat to humanity when used for military purposes. 

Osborne gave a stark warning that there are no limits to how far AI could advance. 

“I think the bleak scenario is realistic because AI is attempting to bottle what makes humans special, that has led to humans completely changing the face of the earth,” he said.

“So if we’re able to capture that in technology, then of course it’s going to pose just as much risk to us as we have posed to other species.”

Doctoral student Michael Cohen said: “with superhuman AI there is a particular risk that is of a different sort of class, which is well, it could kill everyone.”

READ MORE: Can an invention enabled by artificial intelligence be patented?

‘Literal arms race’?

Scientists and philosophers have argued that if AI is not directed toward useful ends, it may eventually pose an existential threat to humanity.

The creation of dangerously advanced machine learning algorithms by nations and technology firms in competition for military and civilian advantage has turned the development of AI into a “literal arms race.”

Even though doctoral student Michael Cohen stated that artificial intelligence is not at the level of doing things that humans can do right now, he warned that humanity should only carefully and slowly progress its AI technologies.

READ MORE: Five recent breakthroughs in AI you probably missed

He said: “I think we’re in a massive AI arms race, geopolitically with the US versus China and among tech firms there seems to be this willingness to throw safety and caution out the window and race as fast as possible to the most advanced AI.”

Experts urged for worldwide regulation to stop companies creating uncontrollable systems, and if the tech that is developed doesn’t stop at eliminating the competition, AI eliminates the whole human race since there is no limit to how far it could advance.

It has been a long debated AI could change the nature of the workplace, and the type of jobs humans do, resulting in people’s need to adapt and discover new activities that will provide them the social and mental benefits their job provided.

In the paper titled “Advanced artificial agents intervene in the provision of reward” which was published in 2022 in the journal Al Magazine Oxford researchers Michael Cohen and Michael Osborne concluded that the answer to the long-standing question of whether AI may go rogue and wipe out humans was that it was “likely”.

“Under the conditions we have identified, our conclusion is much stronger than that of any previous publication — an existential catastrophe is not just possible, but likely,” Cohen said in a Tweet.

According to experts, it is reasonable to predict that by the end of the century, an AI capable of accomplishing considerably more than any human could.

Therefore they urged nations to get together to recognise the “existential threat” and stop the development of dangerous systems and risky algorithms.

READ MORE: New Microsoft AI tech can simulate our voice; should we be concerned?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies