- Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of Initialized Capital and Reddit, is “not concerned about T-800 walking around here and enslaving us.”
- Ohanian says technology like autonomous vehicles is designed to save lives.
- He also talks about the differences in facial recognition technology in China compared to those seen here in the West.
Alyson Shontell: So, lots to ask you about. Starting with, I wanna talk about a recent interview Elon Musk gave, where he is completely terrified of this thing called artificial intelligence. He basically thinks we are super unprepared for what’s coming, artificial intelligence is going to be so much smarter than humans to the point where humans could actually be locked in cages and in zoos by these artificial intelligence creatures like we’ve done with gorillas. What are your thoughts on this artificial intelligence future? Are we screwed?
Alexis Ohanian: I think Elon is writing a great screenplay for like a “Black Mirror” episode. But I am not at all concerned about T-800 walking down, that’s the terminator from “Terminator.” Arnold Schwarzenegger’s. I’m not concerned about a T-800 walking around here and enslaving us.
I do think AI machine learning, these technologies are having, right now, a profound impact on a lot of the things we’re doing, and we’ve been investing in everything from autonomous vehicle companies, to culminate standard cognition, which is letting, basically replacing checkout at stores by using cameras to do real-time recognition so that you can just walk in, grab a Coke, and walk out, and get charged for it. But, this is still so, so far away from robot overlords. I’m just, I’m not particularly worried, because we still have, we have very real implications of the AI technology that right now is getting traction that we aren’t even having conversations about, that we should be talking about right now because they are happening right now. As opposed to the T-800 scenario, which I just don’t see on the horizon.
Shontell: And what are some of the things we should be talking about?
Ohanian: Well, right now, autonomous vehicles are something that’s top of mind for everyone. Thinking about how we balance this technology, which in the long term is going to save lots of lives, with the short term of building the data set in a safe way that involves keeping people as safe as possible. Similarly, with the self-checkout technology I was telling you about, I mean this is existing right now. You can come back from a trip to China and have an amazing experience doing self-checkout, but also knowing that there is a database collecting all those images and a social credit score, and things that we here in the West, I think, would find pretty distasteful, you know, these conversations aren’t really happening yet here.
We’re proud that standard cognition that I come down and talk to you about, is deliberately not storing facial data, because they don’t want to be responsible for it. They don’t believe, they know it’s not necessary to do the service, but we’re not even equipped as a society to have that conversation yet and the technology is actually here and that’s what we should be talking about.
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