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Stay close to people you trust in order to combat AI's 'bad actors' says Christian minister

by Donna Birrell

The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence across everyday life poses a threat to humanity, according to one of its pioneers.

Dr Geoffrey Hinton left his job at Google in order to speak out over his concerns about the technology.

The man known as the ‘Godfather’ of AI told the New York Times that AI systems will increasingly result in bias, threaten privacy and impact jobs.

Chris Goswami is a Christian minister who has worked in technology for 30 years. He’s also the author of a technology blog called and he’s been giving Premier his view:

“The new thing is the fact that this technology can now work with us and talk to us in a human way, it can make human responses. So it can discover things for itself. Rather than telling an AI bot how to play chess, you can tell it to go and learn how to play chess and that is a human thing.

“Geoffrey Hinton’s worry is that with this ability to discover and do things which were not intended by the creators of a bot, AI may have unintended consequences, like a domino effect. We just don't know where this will go.”

In his newspaper article Dr Hinton referred to "bad actors" who would try to use AI for "bad things".

Chris Goswami told Premier this is a worrying development:

“Bad actors are people who come into this malevolently, using AI to sway elections creating spam that can go across millions and millions of people's accounts. Although it’s not true, the fact that it's so repeated so much, and so plausibly, an AI can generate its own evidence for these things. That is certainly a risk.

“Geoffrey also talks about the end of civilization, the risk to humanity of AI taking over because of the fact that there are unintended consequences - if you have a machine that can decide for itself that can go and learn things for itself.

“We need to be concerned about these unintended consequences and make sure that as Christians we have people in these areas, who are using this for good ends, for good educational purposes. So we need to educate ourselves and make sure we know we're with people we can trust.”

In a statement, Google's chief scientist Jeff Dean said: "We remain committed to a responsible approach to AI. We're continually learning to understand emerging risks while also innovating boldly."

A recent report by investment bank Goldman Sachs said AI could replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs. However the UK government has sought to reassure the public about its impact saying AI should complement employment rather than take jobs away. 

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