It’s not just Elon Musk warning of the dangers of AI. Protests came to the SXSW tech and entertainment festival over the weekend. Chants of ‘I say robot, you say no-bot!” came from about two dozen protestors.

The small protest was led by a computer engineer, and echoes sentiments from the Future of Life Institute (FLI). They are a volunteer-run research and outreach organization focused on the possible risks from the development of advanced artificial intelligence.

Adam Mason organized the protest and told the USA Today, “this is about morality in computing.”

Here’s a couple of pictures from the protest from USA Today’s Jon Swartz and Rick Jervis.

The majority of the activists came from the University of Texas. The group’s main concern revolves around AI having too much control.

“Planes can fly themselves, but the person who is ultimately responsible for landing a planet is a human,” Mason said.

Some are baffled by the anti-AI movement.

“I am amazed at the movement,” Stephen Wolfram, a British computer scientist, told the USA Today “AI has changed life in ways as dramatic as the Industrial Revolution.”

AI and The Push Against It

The anti-AI movement isn’t anti-tech. They just want researchers to exercise caution when developing advanced AI.

The Future of Life Institute is a big proponent of exercising caution with advanced AI.

Here’s what Skype-founder Jaan Tallinn, one of FLI’s founders, had to say about AI recently. “Building advanced AI is like launching a rocket. The first challenge is to maximize acceleration, but once it starts picking up speed, you also need to focus on steering.”

Elon Musk believes in being cautions with AI. He even put up $10 million to support research for beneficial AI. “Here are all these AI researchers saying that AI safety is important,” Musk said in January. “I agree with them, so I’m today committing $10 million to support research aimed at keeping AI beneficial for humanity.”

A cautious approach to advanced AI is smart. You wouldn’t want one of those robots kicking back would you?


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