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Former Google moonshot factory exec warns of an AI driven doomsday

Former Google moonshot factory exec warns of an AI driven doomsday
Photo Credit: Reuters
1 Oct, 2021

The former Chief Business Officer of Google X, a semi-secret research and development facility founded by Google in January 2010, has said that artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to become an all-powerful sentient entity. Talking to the Times, Mohammed ‘Mo’ Gawdat, an Egyptian entrepreneur and writer, who was part of Google’s moonshot organisation, claims that an all-powerful god-like AI machine like the Terminator is inevitable and humanity could be staring at an AI led apocalypse.

Gawdat’s self-revelation came when he saw AI developers at Google X build robotic arms that were capable of picking up a small ball by itself. However, one such arm grabbed the ball and showed it to researchers as if it was showing off its accomplishment.    

“The reality is we’re creating God,” Gawdat told The Sunday Times.

Formally referred to as the AI takeover, the hypothetical scenario points towards AI becoming the dominant form of intelligence on the planet, with computer programs and robots taking control over humans.  

Such scenarios are widely propagated in cult movies such as the Matrix, even Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Or in the movie I-robot, where a centralised AI neural system infers that mankind is no good to earth and devises a man to eradicate all humans.  

"Like we had those things for a week. And they're doing what children will take two years to do,” Gawdat said about the speed at which robots learned to do new things. "And then it hit me that they are children. But very, very fast children." The former CBO of the moonshot organisation added.

Gawdat isn’t the only one worried about such a future. The AI takeover is a central concept, often discussed in the field of artificial intelligence. However, it’s also widely accepted that the AI research scientists and big tech firms are conducting today are a long way away from this kind of a situation. In 2017, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had called doomsday predictions about AI “pretty irresponsible”, instead claiming that the technology will make out lives better.

“I have pretty strong opinions on this. I am optimistic,” Zuckerberg said, answering a viewer question during a Facebook Live session. “I think you can build things and the world gets better. But with AI especially, I am really optimistic. Zuckerberg’s comments came shortly after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said humans needed to be worried about AI.