What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is now taking the world by storm and many people are doubtful of what this means for humans. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a type of software that is made to perform functions to that of the brain. LG’s InstaView fridge has a touchscreen in the front that allows you to stream movies and music, discover recipes, and much more. This fridge can even concoct a grocery list for you.  There are many science fiction stories like “The Matrix,” that represent a time when AI becomes smarter than humans. These types of stories end badly for humans. Many people fear AI because of these stories.  Stephen Hawking, a theoretical scientist, believes that AI will easily take over the world, ending all human life.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, agrees that artificial intelligence could be a risk to civilization. Musk and Hawking are referring to weaponized and general AI. Hawking and Musk don’t mean that the development of AI should stop, but they think that there should be government regulations to ensure the AI systems don’t go rogue. “[Government regulations of AI]  takes forever. …but not something which represented a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization,” said Musk. Other people think AI will improve our lives and isn’t a risk. “The so-called control problem…isn’t something that people should feel is imminent. We shouldn’t panic about it,” said Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and philanthropist. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, said Musk’s comments were “pretty irresponsible.”

The important question is whether AI could cause problems for humans. “I think that they could, but at the same time they work very well for people who are unable to function as well themselves so I think that they could end up causing problems; just like normal computer problems, but I think they’re also really good,” said Allison Lee, freshman. “They can cause a lot of problems for humans…what most people worry about is an all-powerful AI, which is not really possible considering the fact that it’s not going to be like “The Matrix,” on us. …AIs are only as smart as people make them…,” said Nathan Schader, sophomore. We’re not sure what AI will mean for humans, but the world could be a very different place in the future.