More than two dozen experts from top universities and research organizations in the US and the UK wrote the alarming report about the malicious use of AI. The report warns that artificial intelligence could usher in a new wave of cyberattacks in which computers use speech technology to impersonate targets or carry out “superhuman hacking” by taking control of drones, driverless vehicles or even autonomous weapons systems on the battlefield.
The report is the latest in a series of warnings about the potential consequences of the rapid development of artificial intelligence. Russian President Vladimir Putin predicted in September that whoever becomes the leader in AI will become the ruler of the world. Shortly after that, Tesla CEO Elon Musk issued a dire warning, suggesting the race between different countries for AI superiority could cause a new world war.
The report, which was also backed by Musk’s Open AI research institute and the Center for a New American Security, isn’t all doom and gloom. The authors acknowledge AI has many potential benefits, but they are urging governments and companies to take steps now to reduce the risks of it being misused. Their recommendations include stepping up cybersecurity, greater collaboration between lawmakers and experts, and for AI researchers to game out scenarios in which things go wrong.
The report comes amid growing enthusiasm for AI from governments and tech executives. China has said it wants to be a global leader in the frontier technology, vowing to build a $150 billion AI industry in the next few years. And Masayoshi Son, the billionaire CEO of Japan’s SoftBank, has repeatedly said that singularity — the moment when computers and artificial intelligence will surpass mankind — is on the horizon.