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He Helped Create AI. Now, He Worries About 'Killer Robots'

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Yoshua Bengio of the University of Montreal, a co-recipient of the 2018 ACM A.M. Turing Award.

Yoshua Bengio is concerned about the possibility of artificial intelligence being weaponized.

Credit: Renaud Philippe/The New York Times

Yoshua Bengio of the University of Montreal in Canada, a co-recipient of the 2018 ACM A.M. Turing Award, is concerned about artificial intelligence (AI) being weaponized.

ACM president Cherri M. Pancake credited Bengio, along with his Turing co-recipients Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun, with laying the foundation for technologies used by billions of people.

“Anyone who has a smartphone in their pocket” has felt their impact, she said, adding that their work also provided “powerful new tools” in the fields of medicine, astronomy, and material sciences.

Although his general view of AI's societal applications is upbeat, Bengio backs the technology's regulation via an international treaty banning "killer robots" or "lethal autonomous weapons."

However, Bengio is quick to dismiss ruminations of machines, programmed with human emotions, turning on their creators.

He advocates for the need to investigate AI and other advanced technology, without ever losing sight of ethical considerations.

Said Bengio, "We need to pursue scientific knowledge, or all we will do is run against a wall. But we need to do it wisely."

From The New York Times
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