An old Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” This is the thinking of very smart people when it involves doing something about protecting humanity from the possible dangers of AI (AI). Sure, it'd be 20, 50 or maybe 100 years before AI becomes more intelligent than humans, posing an existential problem for today’s sapiens. Many luminaries like Elon Musk, Gates and therefore the late Hawking have warned that failing to organize for this eventuality will guarantee our demise in some decades to return.
Perhaps we will start by noting that advances in AI won't stop. That genie is out of the bottle. Billion-dollar AI organizations are now being made within the proverbial “garage” throughout the planet. For those folks who grew up watching The Jetsons, their flying cars, and Rosy the cleaning robot, AI is simply a fulfillment of the promise science and technology made to us a few years ago. Like all other tools, AI is going to be used permanently and for bad, except that at one point these machine-based minds will become self-aware and choose for themselves what to try to – good and bad. AI progress is currently moving at exponential speed. To place this in perspective, my old high school teacher would tell the story of the king who was so thankful to a player who saved his daughter he promised anything. The player asked for one grain of rice on the primary square; two grains on a subsequent square and double one then. Thus, he had one, two, four, eight and sixteen within the first five squares respectively. What percentage of grains of rice would the king need to give the man? The solution is eighteen, 446,744,073,709,551,615 (about 41,168,602,000 metric tons – that's a stockpile of rice bigger than Mt. Everest! Yes, AI is operating at the speed of Moore’s Law, doubling in power and magnitude every 18 months. Currently, AI can perform better than humans like face recognition, fly planes, play chess, identify carcinoma in X rays, etc.
Yes, I admit that in American culture we tend to fear and vilify the AI while in other cultures, like Japan, the AI is that the hero who saves humanity.
Perhaps these cultural differences are the results of animism, “Frankensteinism”, and therefore the Biblical injunction against creating life.