We will not be enslaved by robots – POLITICO

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PARIS — The Council of State, France’s highest administrative court, has denied the idea that artificial intelligence poses an existential threat to humanity, while reassuring the public that they are not them. themselves secretly killer robots.

The Council of State provides administrative guidance to the government and was mandated by then Prime Minister Jean Castex last June to advise on how to develop the use of artificial intelligence in the administration. public and mitigate its risks.

The report, released on Tuesday, is scathing about what it calls the myth of “singularity,” where technology outwits and controls humanity. The court called on the government to counter this “fantasy” in its AI strategy, finding that “thinking about artificial intelligence often falls victim to a parasitic and excessive focus on general artificial intelligence”. Artificial General Intelligence, or AGI, is the name of the theory that AI could outperform human intelligence.

At a press conference, Council members were asked why they dismissed existential risks such as the disempowerment of humanity by machines that have learned to perform tasks better than humans.

Rapporteur and State Councilor Alexandre Lallet said: “We are not at the point that some call the ‘singularity’, where machines take over and humans are forced into their service, as in some American blockbusters. or works of science fiction. It’s always humans making decisions.”

Lallet dismissed the question of whether some AI systems should be given legal personality, once they arguably become more complex than smaller organisms, saying “[The question] seemed neither necessary nor important to us. »

State Councilor Thierry Tuot added: “There are two ways of thinking. One mainly across the Atlantic, where science fiction takes control, another much more realistic, dealing with possible uses that remain linked to reality.

“All the scientists we spoke to believe that [singularity] is a fantasy, pure and simple, and it amounts to mere marketing,” Tuot continued, “We can confirm the revelation that none of us are, in fact, robots.” He said other risks, such as the use of AI controlled weaponry in the military, were more pressing.

Renaud Vedel, who was part of the task force as France’s main AI coordinator and is now director of cabinet for digital affairs minister Jean-Noël Barrot, said in an interview in May that the argument had been put to rest: “The debate was a little too focused on the singularity and that sort of thing, but that’s over now, thankfully.”

A European AI researcher who wished to remain anonymous given what he described as “adversity towards the idea of ​​AGI among public and academic authorities” responded to the Council’s assessment saying : “The AGI is a scientific hypothesis to keep in mind, even if there is a lack of consensus among academic authorities. Seventy years ago there was a lack of consensus on fossil fuels causing climate change Some people started pointing out the risk, they should have been listened to and climate change could have been prevented.

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