Barack Obama is just like us, for he too fears a robot uprising. The Commander in Chief guest-edited the recent issue of Wired and talked about the emergence of artificial intelligence in the world. Obama sat down with MIT’s Media Lab Director Joi Ito and Wired Magazine Editor in Chief Scott Dadich for an all-encompassing interview about what is next for AI technology. Obama said he is a bit nervous that AI is seeping into our lives, but doesn’t feel that the robot apocalypse is coming this way anytime soon. However, he does feel they could take over some jobs:
“If properly harnessed, it [AI] can generate enormous prosperity and opportunity. But it also has some downsides that we’re gonna have to figure out in terms of not eliminating jobs. It could increase inequality. It could suppress wages.”
Obama went on to say that if not handled properly, AI could become dangerous, which sounds like the opening of a bad sci-fi flick. But Obama said the real danger is someone manipulating this technology, not AI’s capacity for learning:
“There could be an algorithm that said, ‘Go penetrate the nuclear codes and figure out how to launch some missiles.’ If that’s its only job, if it’s self-teaching and it’s just a really effective algorithm, then you’ve got problems. I think my directive to my national security team is, don’t worry as much yet about machines taking over the world. Worry about the capacity of either nonstate actors or hostile actors to penetrate systems.”
As he approaches his final few months in office, Obama has eased our robot-centric fears. No word yet if Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton has planned their defense strategies if and when the robot uprising comes.