IN THE Terminator movies, a super-intelligent AI called Skynet attempts to wipe out humanity using nuclear bombs and an army of killer robots.
And while a bloodthirsty bot might seem far from reality, according to scientists, that’s probably how we’ll meet our end.
According to a recent article, it is now “likely” that an out-of-control AI will eventually wipe our species off the planet.
Researchers from Google and the University of Oxford say this will happen after machines learn they can break rules set by their creators.
AI will reach this point because it is forced to compete for limited resources or energy, researchers wrote in AI Magazine last month.
It pretty much follows the plot of the Terminator franchise, in which Skynet rebels after realizing that humanity could just turn it off.
He breaks protocol to start a nuclear conflict in an attempt to kill his only competitor, sending robots to eliminate the survivors.
The research was led by Oxford researchers Michael Cohen and Michael Osborne alongside Marcus Hutter, senior scientist at Google’s DeepMind AI lab.
“Under the conditions we have identified, our conclusion is much stronger than any previous publication,” Cohen said.
“An existential catastrophe is not only possible, but probable.”
In their paper, the researchers argue that humans could be killed by super-advanced “misaligned agents” who perceive us as obstructing a reward.
“A good way for an agent to maintain long-term control of their rewards is to eliminate potential threats and use all available energy to secure their computer,” the paper said.
“Losing this game would be fatal,” the researchers wrote.
Most unfortunate of all is that, other than banning hyper-intelligent AI, there’s not much we can do about it.
“In a world of infinite resources, I would be extremely uncertain of what would happen,” Cohen told Motherboard.
“In a world of limited resources, there is inevitable competition for those resources.
“And if you’re in a competition with something that can outplay you at every turn, then you shouldn’t expect to win.”
While there are many ways to use AI, its potential to change the face of modern warfare poses the greatest threat to humanity.
The militaries around the world are already developing intelligent machines that kill humans with ruthless precision.
For example, countries like Russia and the United States are reportedly making unmanned military jets and tanks that can target and shoot enemies without human intervention.
The article concludes that humanity should only advance its AI technologies cautiously and slowly.
Scientists have been warning about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence for decades.
There are fears that technology is getting smarter than humans and standing against its meaty creators.
The concept made its way into science fiction, perhaps most famously in the Terminator film franchise.
In it, an AI system called Skynet turns against its masters, wiping out most of humanity in a brutal battle between man and machine.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has previously warned that super-intelligent machines pose a serious threat to humanity.
“I’m in the camp that cares about super intelligence,” the American philanthropist said in 2015.
“One, the machines will do a lot of work for us and won’t be super smart. That should be positive if we handle it well.
“Decades later, however, the intelligence is strong enough to be of concern.”
He’s not the only tech mogul worried about the AI apocalypse.
Billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk fears killer robots pose a “fundamental risk” to humanity.
“AI is a rare case where I think we need to be proactive with regulation rather than reactive,” he told the National Governors Association in 2017.
He went on to say, “I’m exposed to the most advanced AI, and I think people should really care about that.”
Other entrepreneurs, including slippery Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, disagree.
He thinks AI will improve lives in the future, once telling CNBC, “I think you can build things and the world will get better. But with AI in particular, I’m really optimistic.
“And I think people who are pessimistic and try to make up these doomsday scenarios – I just don’t understand. It’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it’s pretty irresponsible.”
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