Humans may go extinct like the dodo because artificial intelligence robots will one day unleash a Terminator-style Judgement Day, scientists fear.
Researchers reckon by the end of this century, evil AI systems could take control of their programming and try and kill us – just like the Skynet software in the terrifying 1984 movie.
They have warned the advanced technology could become a “existential threat to humanity” and must be regulated like nuclear weapons.
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Michael Cohen, a doctoral student at the University of Oxford, told the Government’s science and technology committee: “With superhuman AI there is a particular risk that is of a different sort of class, which is, well, it could kill everyone.
“If you imagine training a dog with treats: it will learn to pick actions that lead to it getting treats, but if the dog finds the treat cupboard, it can get the treats itself without doing what we wanted it to do.”
Mr Cohen also said that the robots could also attack humans without us even suspect that they were ready to do so.
He added: “If you have something that’s much smarter than us over every domain, it would presumably avoid sending any red flags while we still could pull the plug.”
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MPs were also warned the development of AI had become a “literal arms race” as countries and technology companies were creating dangerously advanced machines in a bid to gain military and civilian advantage.
They were also told AI might eradicate us – mirroring humans killing off the dodo in the 17th Century by hunting it for food.
Michael Osborne, professor of machine learning at the university, said: “I think the bleak scenario is realistic because AI is attempting to bottle what makes humans special that [quality] has led to humans completely changing the face of the Earth.
“So if we’re able to capture that in technology then of course it’s going to pose just as much risk to us as we have posed to other species – the dodo is one example.”
In September, the researchers warned in a potential apocalyptic future, advanced software may one day compete against humans for limited resources or energy.
Last year, a survey revealed 36% of scientists reckon super-intelligent machines could cause a catastrophe, as bad as an “all-out nuclear war”.
Researcher Julian Michael, of New York University, which conducted the research, said respondents fear “sci-fi renegade AI scenarios” where rogue computers run amok.
He said: “If machine learning is deployed in a nuclear warning system and it makes a mistake… then maybe we have a problem.”
In The Terminator, Skynet gained self-awareness and attacked the Earth with nuclear weapons when humans tried to deactivate it.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, 75, played a deadly robot assassin sent back in time to 1984 Los Angeles by Skynet to kill Sarah Connor, whose future son John leads a rebel force against the machines.
A member of the future human resistance force, Kyle Reese is also sent back to help her and together they manage to destroy the assassin.
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