Google scientist predicts blurring of human-machine distinctions in future
The top artificial intelligence scientist at Google believes distinctions between human and machine would be blurred within the era of artificial intelligence, while disagreeing with Stephen Hawking’s view that the future AI development would supersede human beings.

Stephen Hawking, the world-famous theoretical physicist, recorded in advance a keynote speech titled Guiding AI to benefit humanity and the environment for the 2017 Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing yesterday, voicing his concerns about the possibility of human beings competing with artificial intelligence and the economy being disrupted.
“In the future, AI could develop a will of its own, a will that is in conflict with ours,” Hawking said, shedding doubts on belief that humans can command the rate of technology for a long time.
Yoav Shoham, the principal scientist at Google specializing on artificial intelligence, game theory and electronic commerce, told in an interview he shared Hawking’s concerns about economic impact but believes AI could become a part of humans, instead of overruling the species with free will.
Shoham cited a friend who said human beings, as a species, have finished their evolution and would be replaced by machines in the future. Then, Shoham gave two reasons why he would not be worried.
First, Shoham forecasts distinctions between humans and machine would become more and more blurred in the future. “Now the machinery equipment we use like cell phone or computers are still separated from us, while in the future we could see the human brain and machine combine, with some chips being implanted into our blood vessels. When humans and machine integrate with each other as one, there is no need to worry about being superseded,” he explained.
On the other hand, Shoham believed humans possess unique advantages—the ability to think, comprehend, perceive, and feel. “We have feelings, emotions and free will that machines would not have.”
He shared Hawking’s warning about possible economic impact and gave three examples. “If we succeed in developing self-driving cars, millions of drivers would lose their jobs; if we use algorithm in computer science to issue loans, the disadvantaged would be ignored and inequalities would be amplified; if we applied robot soldiers to wars, would that be legal?"

Hawking believed that more research should be done in a bid to find really effective solutions to control the problems. Shoham agreed and expected the problems to be addressed within a short term.


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