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Rise of machines can never happen says AI expert

Humans must stop fearing robots and learn to welcome them into their family, a leading Artificial Intelligence (AI) expert has said.

Dr Nigel Shadbolt, professor of computer science at Oxford University, insisted the rise of the machines could never happen and blamed human stupidity for projecting emotions onto robots.

According to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Sir Nigel told an audience at the Hay Festival: "Does AI threaten humanity? Certainly anything you see in Hollywood portrays it that way. They are usually mad, bad and dangerous to know. Essentially, you don't want to get too close to them.

"But this is to misunderstand where the real problem lies. It is not artificial intelligence that should terrify you, it is natural stupidity."

He continued: "Quite rightly people begin to worry - are the machines going to wake up, are they going to become super-capable? I want to tell you that no, they're not. We're building super-narrow, task-achieving super-intelligence. But we have no understanding as yet of a general characterisation of artificial intelligence or how you transfer from one task to another."

Sir Nigel predicted that in time, humans projection of emotions onto the machines will change feelings of fear into those of attachment.

He said: "We will begin to empathise with them. It will not be long before these devices are the companions that grow up with our children and that look after us in elder care - from cradle to grave.

"We project emotions and intentions onto these systems. It doesn't matter that there's nobody at home in the circuits, just a very good answer chatbot. It doesn't matter. We will become extraordinarily attached to them."

In contrast, Sir Nigel claimed we do not appreciate our smartphones enough, comparing them to the pyramids of ancient Egypt in terms of achievement.

Calling phones, "the super-computers in our pockets", he said: "We often don't understand just quite how impressed and amazed we ought to be.

"These are the pyramids of the 21st century. These are the medieval cathedrals we should stand and be in awe of."

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