AI robots answer questions during United Nations summit
A robot has urged humans to be “cautious” in the development of AI in a chilling Q&A with the audience at an AI discussion in Switzerland.
A total of nine humanoid robots were present at the UN’s AI for Good conference in Switzerland, an event that some have described as the first-ever human-robot summit.
The purpose of the event, according to its organisers, is to explore the ways in which AI can advance health, climate, gender, inclusive prosperity, sustainable infrastructure, and other global development priorities.
Speaking to an audience of humans, Ai-Da, a robot with the ability to paint portraits, warned the crowd that “many prominent voices in the world of AI are suggesting some forms of AI should be regulated and I agree”.
It continued: “We should be cautious about the future development of AI.
“Urgent discussion is needed now, and also in the future.”
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When it comes to machines stealing people’s jobs, robot Grace, who wears a nurse uniform, told the crowd that their aim is to work with humans, reassuring that robots will not “replace any existing jobs”.
Another humanoid robot, known as Sophia, was decidedly more optimistic, saying that AI will only benefit humanity once men and machines learn to work in synergy.
It said: “AI can provide unbiased data while humans can provide the emotional intelligence and creativity to make the best decisions.
“Together, we can achieve great things.”
Despite the robots’ apparent fluency, it is hard to tell whether their answers were prepared in advance or scripted by their developers. And it wasn’t all smooth sailing: the robots’ speeches were punctuated with glitches, misunderstanding and awkward pauses, according to Associated Press.
The conference comes at a time of great interest and concern in AI technologies, which are said to pose an existential threat to humans, as some industry leaders warned in an open letter published last May.
“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks, such as pandemics and nuclear war,” the Center for AI Safety said in a statement.
Back in Geneva, the robots themselves have taken to reassuring humans directly, trying to ease their fears on what the unregulated development of AI technologies can do to humanity.
In another sinister comment made when asked whether AI would tell humans the truth, Robot Ameca said: “No one can ever know that for sure, but I can promise to always be honest and truthful with you.”
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