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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 14th April 2017 > A NEW LEASH ON LIFE


Some of the best minds of our generation came to the U.N. to decide whether AI will turn humans into pets



IN A ROOM at the United Nations overlooking New York’s East River, at a table as long as a tennis court, around 70 of the best minds in artificial intelligence recently ate a sea bass dinner and could not agree on the impact of AI and robots.

This is perhaps the most vexing challenge of AI. There’s a great deal of agreement around the notion that humans are creating a genie unlike any that’s poofed out of a bottle so far—yet no consensus on what that genie will do for us. Or to us. Will AI robots gobble all our jobs and render us their pets? Tesla CEO Elon Musk thinks so. He just announced his new company, Neuralink, which will explore adding AI-programmed chips to brains so people don’t become little more than pesky annoyances to thinking machines. At the U.N. forum, organized by AI investor Mark Minevich, IPsoft CEO Chetan Dube said AI will have 10 times the impact of any technology in history in one-fifth the time. He threw around figures in the hundreds of trillions of dollars when talking about AI’s effect on the global economy. The gathered AI chiefs from companies such as Facebook, Google, IBM, Airbnb and Samsung nodded their heads.

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