Guest Post: Tom Pettinger, PhD Student, Examines Artificial Intelligence – Is It the Saviour of Humanity, Or Its Destroyer?

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The following article is one of my few forays into topics that are not related to Guantánamo, British politics, my photos or the music of my band The Four Fathers, but I hope it’s of interest. It’s an overview of the current situation regarding artificial intelligence (AI), written by Tom Pettinger, a PhD student at the University of Warwick, researching terrorism and de-radicalisation. Tom can be contacted here.

Tom and I first started the conversation that led to him writing this article back in May, when he posted comments in response to one of my articles in the run-up to last month’s General Election. After a discussion about our fears regarding populist leaders with dangerous right-wing agendas, Tom expressed his belief that other factors also threaten the future of our current civilisation — as he put it, “AI in particular, disease, global economic meltdown far worse than ’08, war, [and] climate change.”

I replied that my wife had “just returned from visiting her 90-year old parents, who now have Alexa, and are delighted by their brainy servant, but honestly, I just imagine the AI taking over eventually and doing away with the inferior humans.”

Tom replied that it seems that AI “could pose a fairly short-term existential risk to humanity if we don’t deal with it properly,” adding that the inventor and businessman Elon Musk “is really interesting on this topic.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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