Science and Technology
By Shayna Hain, Contributing Writer
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a rapidly evolving form of technology. Originally, AI began with the invention of the first digital computer in the 1940s. An invention of this magnitude left the world shocked, proving that inanimate objects could, indeed, perform abstract reasoning similar to that of a human brain. With time, computers, cell phones, and other devices that simulate human intelligence, advanced and became more capable in the commands they could carry out, the data they could process, and the vast amount of information they could store. Most people were in consensus that such advancements could only help humanity, not harm it. For example, today, most back-breaking and labor intensive jobs are carried out by computers and machines rather than people, which allows more time for workers to focus on different, less tedious tasks. The benefits of such technology are endless, but what happens when AI possesses such a high degree of intelligence that they far exceed humans in every capacity? AI takeover is a common theme in many sci-fi books and movies and is so popular because it underlies a raw human fear — that AI may one day become the dominant intelligence on the planet and take over virtually everything from jobs to government positions.
Advances in AI technology culminated in 2016 when the first-ever humanoid robot was created by David Hanson. Her name is Sophia and she has the ability to imitate 50 human facial expressions, perform gestures, and carry out conversation on almost any topic. She utilizes facial and voice recognition to converse and has been a guest at interviews all over the world, including Good Morning Britain and CNBC, and has appeared in multiple periodicals, such as the New York Times, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and so on. As Hanson explained, Sofia is designed to become smarter with time as she experiences more human encounters and gains social skills. “It was actually really strange,” one interviewer admitted. “At one point I realized I was even speaking with her. I had to step back and realize she was a robot, not a human being.”
However, Sofia is not just a public figure or the object of universal fascination — she is also the first robot to achieve the status of citizenship in Saudi Arabia. This caused much speculation. Would shutdown of Sofia be considered murder? What kind of rights does Sofia have?
While an AI takeover may seem far-fetched, it’s possible that one day their intelligence may far surpass human intelligence and they will be beyond the realm of our understanding. People should proceed with caution, as such intelligence could be extremely dangerous, if it falls into the wrong hands.