Eric Schmidt says AI doomsday scenarios 'worth thoughtful consideration'

Eric-Schmidt Chip Somodevilla / Getty ImagesAlphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt

The idea of an artificial intelligence apocalypse is over-hyped, but still worth considering, write Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt and Google X founder Sebastian Thrun in an op-ed published on Fortune.

“Some voices have fanned fears of AI and called for urgent measures to avoid a hypothetical dystopia,” they write. “We take a much more optimistic view.”

Tech luminaries like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have strongly spoken out about the potential dangers of full artificial intelligence.

Schmidt and Thrus say that while “doomsday scenarios” deserve “thoughtful consideration,” the best course of action is to get to work on creating solutions.

Google’s AI group, DeepMind, has developed a “big red button” to interrupt artificial intelligence causing harm, for example.

Here’s the key paragraph:

“Do we worry about the doomsday scenarios? We believe it’s worth thoughtful consideration. Today’s AI only thrives in narrow, repetitive tasks where it is trained on many examples. But no researchers or technologists want to be part of some Hollywood science-fiction dystopia. The right course is not to panic — it’s to get to work. Google, alongside many other companies, is doing rigorous research on AI safety, such as how to ensure people can interrupt an AI system whenever needed, and how to make such systems robust to cyberattacks.”

Read the rest of the op-ed here.

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