Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, has compared the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) to the emergence of nuclear weapons at the end of World War II.
"AI is advancing at an alarming pace," Schmidt said. "It took 18 years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to establish international agreements on nuclear testing and other safety measures. We don't have that kind of time today."
Schmidt expressed concern about the possibility of AI systems becoming autonomous decision-makers, especially if they have access to weapons. "The problem arises when computers can make their own choices to take action," he explained. "For example, what if such a system discovers access to weapons and decides to use them without telling us?"
Just two years ago, the idea of AI reaching this level of autonomy was considered far-fetched. However, Schmidt noted that some experts now believe it could happen within the next two to four years.
Despite the potential risks, Schmidt expressed optimism about AI's potential to improve people's lives. "I challenge anyone to argue that an AI doctor or an AI tutor would be a bad thing," he said. "AI has to be good for the world."