The creators of artificially intelligent machines are often depicted in popular fiction as myopic Dr. Frankensteins who are oblivious to the apocalyptic technologies they unleash upon the world. In real life, they tend to wring their hands over the big questions: good versus evil and the impact the coming wave of robots and machine brains will have on human workers.
Scientists, recognizing their work is breaking out of the research lab and into the real world, grappled during a daylong summit on Dec. 10 in Montreal with such ethical issues as how to prevent computers that are smarter than humans from putting people out of work, adding complications to legal proceedings, or, even worse, seeking to harm society. Today’s AI can learn how to play video games, help automate e-mail responses, and drive cars under certain conditions. That’s already provoked concerns about the effect it may have workers.