Busting the A.I.pocalypse myth — we are just scared from… ourselves

As a person who is actively involved in A.I. since my years in high-school till nowadays as a CEO of an image recognition company, I feel personally responsible to bust the frenzy and the myths about A.I.’s potential to endanger humanity, more than any other kind of progress.

First and foremost, machines can’t have their own motivation — there are no inherent instincts and emotions to drive such motivation. In human terms it’s ambiguous to distinguish between intelligence, emotional intelligence, and emotions. For machines, though they can simulate emotions to certain extent, and only if said so in advance, it’s not the case.

Related to that, machines don’t have the survival instinct and the will to dominate, just because they don’t feel and experience neither negative nor positive emotions. They can of course strictly follow the rules, process huge amounts of data and predict and estimate quite well, as clearly shown in the AlphaGo vs. Lee Se-dol matches earlier this month. But it’s not the kind of intelligence interfered with the emotions and the internal motivation that a person has. (Have you ever seen the AlphaGo being happy? What about its creators, or this look on Lee Se-dol’s face after the 4th match?)

However, we as people are so used to those instincts that we perceive them as inherent for everything that shows signs of “intelligence”. And the really scary part is actually our own projection as a human kind— the fact that the people are not the strongest or the biggest among other species, but due to their higher intelligence has managed to dominate and take advantage of other species, and more often then never in a really terrible way.

The computer and its software, as anything else created by us, is just a tool. It’s our responsibility how to use it. And the automation that the so called A.I. can bring could be really useful even for things like early terrorism prevention or saving thousands of hours for manual work on annotating images, among plethora of other use-cases.

In conclusion I’d like to give you some good food for thought by sharing a personal insight I had a few years ago:

I was in rage about some silly things I can’t even remember when suddenly something written on the stone wall (of a hermit’s cave that I entered a few minutes later) really struck me — “Oh, merciful Lord, please protect my heart from all evil!”. Some may think this means to protect myself from the “bad” people and situations out there. But it really means to protect my own heart from feeling hatred and willingness to misbehave toward others. Only then we are safe and there’s no need to worry about our own shadow :)