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NO.450 12.03.2018

Humans Must Take the Control of Technological Development

Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) can be either a blessing or a curse in the near future. The choice lies in humans.


On Thursday, September 6, Professor Max Tegmark of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a world-renowned AI scholar, took the podium to give his Miwon Lecture. The Miwon Lecture is a series of special lectures founded in honor of the late founder of Kyung Hee University System, Dr. Young Seek Choue. The Miwon Lectures began in 2010 with the goal to contribute to shaping new perspectives regarding our society and the civilization of humankind, as well as toward building a peaceful future.

As physicist and scholar of cosmology, Professor Tegmark is well-known for his great introspective views on AI. Clearly present in the faces of more than 200 attendees who filled the Neonuri Hall was their uneasiness and curiosity on the possible changes that AI would bring to human society.


“Like the ban on nuclear weapons, lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS) must be prohibited”
The Miwon Lecture began with a special presentation from Professor Tegmark, who introduced the advancements made in AI. He said, “AI robots that could barely walk can now do somersaults. We must abandon the thought that only humans can think. AI will make incredible advancements, enough to think on their own.”

Improvements made in AI can add both convenience and dangers to human life. Professor Tegmark believes, “When lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS) become available, somebody is bound to use it. That is why we must prohibit its development, just as we have the NPT (nuclear non-proliferation treaty) to prohibit the spread of nuclear weapons.”

To ensure safe AI research, he founded the Future of Life Institute (FOLI), which was also responsible for creating the Asilomar AI Principles in 2017. The 23rd rule of this Principle is the pledge to work toward a ‘Common Good.’ In short, superintelligence should be developed only for the benefit of all humanity. The pledge implies that under strong control, AI should be used only for the common benefit of all humankind. Professor Tegmark emphasized, “Rather than technology dominating humans, we should be able to control technology.”



The goal of AI researchers is to develop intelligence that can achieve complex goals
After the special lecture, a dialog and Q&A ensued between Professors Tegmark and Sang Wook Kim of the Department of Physics, who asked about the definition of ‘intelligence’ and ‘conscience’ in AI.

Professor Tegmark defined ‘intelligence’ as one that achieves complex goals. Hence, with intelligence, one can better achieve one’s goals. Intelligence applied to achieve more complex and comprehensive goals is the very objective of AI researchers.

According to Professor Tegmark, ‘conscience’ is associated with ‘experience.’ He offered autonomous vehicles as an example. The Autonomous vehicle processes sound, voice and surrounding environment as data. However, humans drive by incorporating their experience into the performance. The difference between these two is ‘conscience.’



The general public must take interest in AI and direct it toward common good
There were responses given to questions from the audience, too. One member of the audience asked whether AI is capable of having emotions. Professor Tegmark responded, “The first question is whether humans want AI to have emotions.” Technology may be able to decide whether to incorporate emotions or not, but the response points to the importance of the general choice regarding what types of emotions we desire the AI to possess.

Some of the questions inquired into what the general public could do to ensure that AI in everyday life is developed toward the common good. Professor Tegmark responded by saying that we must all take ‘interest.’ When the general public takes even a small interest in AI, only then can we all be vigilant and prevent malicious use of AI.

A participant who also works for an AI lab commented on his realization and said, “I was able to self-reflect on my own AI research behavior, which has focused exclusively on the technical aspect.”



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