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We will soon be replaced by intelligent robots and they are already watching us

Francisco Miraval

I must confess that I don’t like it when I watch a TV series that it is presented as only fiction and then, later, I discover that the technology presented in that series was not fiction at all. It really upsets me when I see that years after the TV series ended the fictional technology is publicly presented as very real. 

That was the case, for example with Person of Interest (CBS, 2011 to 2016). In that series, you can see very often images (supposedly, just fiction) of a software created by a billionaire genius to identify people about to be involved in violent crimes, hopefully before they commit the crimes.

Now, three years after that series ended, Yoshua Bengio, a Canadian computer scientist who helped to develop the technology for artificial intelligence, published images from China showing (supposedly in real life) the use of an AI program similar to the one previously presented in Person of Interest. The similarities between the images are uncanny. 

Let me put it this way: what just a few years ago was presented as science fiction, now it is a reality. And, I am sure, not only in China. In fact, Bengio said during a recent interview with Bloomberg that the situation “it’s becoming more and more scary.”

According to information published by Bloomberg, the IA used in Chine is a neural network using simultaneously facial recognition and processing of natural language (including translations) to verify the identity of a person and to anticipate “antisocial behaviors”, from small things (jaywalking, being rude in public transportation) to major issues (not paying debts or speaking against the government.)

Bengio, together with some of his colleagues and some well-known global corporate leaders, said that the new technology, “as it gets more powerful, outside of other influences, just leads to more concentration of power and wealth”, adding that “That is bad for democracy, that is bad for social justice, and the general well-being of most people.”

How bad is for humans to live being constantly watched by AI? As bad as thinking than in 50 years or so that AI will replace us, according to scientist Luca De Ambroggi, the research and analysis lead for AI solutions at Transformative Technology, under HIS Markit in London. 

During a recent interview with Sunday Express (UK), Ambroggi said that AI and robotics have achieved such important advances during the past decade that it is possible that by 2070 or even earlier new superhuman AI robots will be able to displace and replace us (unless, I add, somebody comes from the future to save as – Terminator – or fights from outside the techno-simulacrum – The Matrix –).

We talk about this topic because highly respected scientists are also talking about this topic. Otherwise, it would be ridiculous. Yet, in the past, highly respected scientists thought the earth was flat and that we were the center of the universe. So, whom should we believe? The scientists?  A TV series? That’s another a very scary alternative. 

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