New research paper from Google reveals what the company fears most about AI

google pinpoints dangerous ai behaviors maxresdefault
2001: A Space Odyssey
It’s hard to think of a company more infatuated with AI than Google. With multi-billion dollar investments in deep learning startups like DeepMind, and responsible for some of the biggest advances involving neural networks, Google is the greatest cheerleader artificial intelligence could possibly hope for.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things about AI that scare the search giant.

In a new paper, entitled “Concrete Problems in AI Safety,” Google researchers — alongside experts from UC Berkeley and Stanford University — lay out some of the possible “negative side effects” which may arise from AI systems over the coming years. Instead of focusing on the distant threat of superintelligence, the 29-page paper instead examines “unintended and harmful behavior that may emerge from poor design.” Two big themes which emerge are the idea of a machine purposely misleading its creators in order to complete an objective, or else causing injury or damage to achieve “a tiny advantage for [its] task at hand.”

“This is a great paper that achieves a much-needed systematic classification of safety issues relating to autonomous AI systems,” George Zarkadakis, author of the book In Our Own Image: Will Artificial Intelligence Save or Destroy Us?, tells Digital Trends.

As to whether fears about AI are justified, Zarkadakis says that Google’s warnings — while potentially alarming — are a far cry from some of the other AI warnings we’ve heard in recent months from the likes of Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk. “The Google paper is a matter-of-fact engineering approach to identifying the areas for introducing safety in the design of autonomous AI systems, and suggesting design approaches to build in safety mechanisms,” he notes.

Indeed, despite its raising of issues, Google’s paper ends by considering the “question of how to think most productively about the safety of forward-looking applications of AI,” complete with handy suggestions. In all, whether you think working to achieve artificial intelligence is going to be a net positive or potentially disastrous negative for humanity, the newly-published paper is well worth a read.

Photography

From 11K to just OK: The biggest photo gear announcements at CES 2019

From 11K cameras to 1 TB media cards, CES 2019 brought a peek at new gear for photographers and videographers. But what photography gear grabbed our attention the most? Here are the biggest photo gear announcements from CES 2019.
Home Theater

Here’s why you’re not getting Netflix in HD or 4K, and how to fix it

Are you having trouble watching your favorite movies or TV shows on Netflix in HD or 4K? We explain why loading takes so long, why the picture quality fluctuates, and what you can do about it.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Gaming

Among hundreds of choices, these are the best 25 SNES games of all time

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System might be the greatest game console ever made, but what are the best titles for the system? Here are our picks for the best SNES games.
Emerging Tech

The enormous ‘Flying Bum’ moves toward a commercial design

A prototype of the world's largest aircraft is being retired as the company behind it prepares to build a production model. The new Airlander 10, also known as the "Flying Bum," could be ready for commercial use by 2025.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

Lasers and bovine breathalyzer help determine how much methane cows produce

Cow farts and belches don't sound like catastrophic threats, but they contribute to the massive amounts of methane in the atmosphere. Recently, scientists set out to establish the numbers.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

Short film celebrates New Yorker’s amazing robot costumes

New York City resident Peter Kokis creates stunning robot costumes out of household trash. His designs are huge, heavy, and extremely intricate, and never fail to turn heads when he's out and about.
Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.