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AI Can Be Our Friend, Says Bill Gates ( 71

An anonymous reader shares a report: "AI can be our friend," says Gates. In response to the question, "What do you think will happen to human civilization with further development in AI technology?" Gates says the rise in artificial intelligence will mean society will be able to do more with less. "AI is just the latest in technologies that allow us to produce a lot more goods and services with less labor. And overwhelmingly, over the last several hundred years, that has been great for society," explains Gates. "We used to all have to go out and farm. We barely got enough food, when the weather was bad people would starve. Now through better seeds, fertilizer, lots of things, most people are not farmers. And so AI will bring us immense new productivity," says Gates.
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AI Can Be Our Friend, Says Bill Gates

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  • ... the reality is there are billions of people in developing nations whose economies are suddenly irrelevant. Bill is a little too out of touch with reality. Many planners in the american military are planning for full dystopia.

    Pentagon video warns of our dystopian future []

    • Bill is a little too out of touch with reality.

      Yeah, what will happen when AI is not satisfied with "A Piece of the Action" or a "Taste of that" any more, and decides that it, AI, wants to "Own the Desktop" . . . ?

      Bill Gates: "But I'm Bill Gates . . . I own the desktop!"

      HAL: "I'm sorry Bill . . . I'm afraid . . ."

      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        Again I want to express basic concurrence with this branch of the thread, but again I feel that witty brevity is missing too much of the insight. More verbosity at [], but for this context I'll just say (1) If I did have a giveable mod point I probably wouldn't invest it here, (2) I wish there were more comments about solutions (and even though I only postscripted one possible solution), and (3) I wish Slashdot made it easier to find the people worth reading (where my now pare

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @04:46PM (#56148504)
    Hey! It looks like you're writing a missive on how AI can be our friend.

    Would you like help?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Who brought us Clippy and Bob.

    • He also "wrote" a book called "The Road Ahead" in 1995 that practically ignored the internet. (Later editions corrected this.)
  • At most, AI will help subject-matter experts avoid mistakes.
  • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @05:17PM (#56148646) Homepage Journal

    I actually think this story is hilarious. Bill Gates basically has one claim to fame. He created one of the greatest of the corporate cancers. Made him rich, too.

    Now the leading corporate cancers "are engaged in a great civil war" to see which corporate cancer shall swallow all of the others. Each of them seeks to create an AI sufficiently powerful to maximize profit to infinity and buy out and absorb all of the other corporate cancers. There is also a minor question as to whether the host (AKA human society) will die first. (My apologies to the ghost of Honest Abe.)

    Bill Gates has one major claim to innovation. I think that Microsoft perfected the EULA. If you read it carefully, you will discover that you just signed up as cannon fodder. Nowadays you click past such contracts all the time for every sort of product. I think the key bit is the limitation of liability. Whatever goes wrong, whether its destruction of your personal information and identity due a software bug or a fatal self-driving car accident caused by the corporation's AI, you can't do anything about it. You already agreed you won't do anything to harm the profits of the corporation (AKA gigantic corporate cancer) whose license terms you accepted. Unread and with a click or a tear. (That's "tear" as in tearing open the shrinkwrap, not "tears" as in what you should be crying.)

    Remember: "There is no gawd but Profit, and [put your favorite joke here]."

    Why in gawd's name would ANY corporation's AI be a friend of ANY of the human cannon fodder?

    (Answer: The AI might fake "friendship" as long as the calculations indicate profit will be increased.)

    P.S. Sure would be nice if there were an honest governmental referee with a consumer protection agency of some sort and no concern about the unsolvable problem of maximizing profits to infinity. Eh?

    P.P.S. I actually think there is a solution: A progressive tax on corporate profits based on market share. I also think there is almost no chance we can get there from here.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Actually, really actually speaking. That master Gates, the turd, Wee Willie, owes his success to Mumsy and Daddy. The lawyers who worked with IBM lawyers (who profited quite handsomely by doing this) to slip in QDOS (the real name, Quick Dirty Operating System), with such a 'er' Liberal contract, the did nothing about signing up copyrights for some strange silly reason (a bunch of corrupt lawyers colluded to cheat IBM investors of well, M$, the entire company, quite the successful con). So M$ dishonest from

  • "The Internet is a fad." - Bill Gates
    "AI Can Be Our Friend" - Bill Gates

  • Lest I appear to be a Luddite, I think AI could be a great thing.

    But it's only going to be used to drive every last bit of profit out of everything, and some people are going to lose their jobs as a result.

    • On the other hand you and everyone else will be able to use AI in many ways and do things that are impossible today even for the big corporations. I think objections to Bill's argument don't have enough faith in human greed - we will create new jobs because we are always in search for more, we're too damn entitled for more to sit still. We always find roles and things to do for people, people are already like the AI we strive to create and don't cost too much to function.
  • Just Another AI Incoherence(stolen from JAPH)
    Those kind of people have microphones laid in front of them and they spew out every kind of shit they think... or even worse what they tell them to say.
    It's been a long time since Hawking said something about AI, Musk too, but at least we keep this shit hot with Bill. Bill's your friend.. he doesn't and he never knew "how to CS", just like every other guy who's talking about AI, but hey, but he has an opinion about every hot CS topic.

    Did you ever wonder what
    • by mikael ( 484 )

      It started with Big Data. Once companies started collecting Terabytes of analytic data from mobile devices and sales, they suddenly had to find ways of extracting useful knowledge through data mining. Having data scientists wasn't enough, they had to do this automatically. This required statistics and various pattern matching techniques to derive conclusions ands facts.

      The sames happened in bio-sciences and automating protein/drug interaction research. What required a lab of technicians all trying out exper

  • Gates says the rise in artificial intelligence will mean society will be able to do more with less.

    Those who own the companies and such will be able to do more with less. Those of us that don't will simply have to do with less. Big societal disrupting tech typically starts out pretty rocky and those that want to survive will clash with those that want to retain their money making business model. Just look at the companies that finance the RIAA an MPAA for a recent example. When only a fraction of the population is needed for the few jobs that are left, the owners, producers, and shareholders are not goin

    • > When only a fraction of the population is needed for the few jobs that are left, the owners, producers, and shareholders are not going to want to have to pay increased taxes for those who they made obsolete.

      On the other hand, when most people will be jobless, who will buy their products? How will their companies make absurd quantities of money? Buying and selling only between the 1% is a downgrade for them too.

      I think the solution involves not UBI but "guaranteed jobs for everyone". These jo
    • by beckett ( 27524 )

      Those who own the companies and such will be able to do more with less.

      What will be the general trajectory of human companies when AI's begin to incorporate, and it's AI's-all-the-way-down?

  • 16 chars of amen.

  • " Now through better seeds, fertilizer, lots of things, most people are not farmers."

    The "lots of things" being dozens of billions of farm subsidies, because natural intelligence doesn't cut it yet apparently.

    • by pubwvj ( 1045960 )

      "billions of farm subsidies"

      The odd thing about subsidizing farming is that it isn't necessary. I farm successfully without subsidies. I did not inherit my farm, I bought land and I built it up from scratch. I vertically integrated so I produce most of my own feed, my own replacement livestock and have my own on-farm meat processing facility (a.k.a. a butcher shop) and deliver direct to customers both wholesale and retail. If I can do it without subsidies then I would argue the subsidies are not needed, wit

  • 1: Because we're humans. We just don't do "friendly". We just fake it, badly, for a while until we judge who/whatever it is will no longer be of use to us. Then we make a chimpanzee on PCP look like a Buddhist monk.

    2: We, rightly, don't trust AI. Why? Because we know the assholes who programmed it. And those assholes are US!

    3: And this is all before we ever delve into the whole telemetry issue.

    • AI is not going to be like rocket science. You won't need billions to run an experiment or to create your own. Everyone will be able to use AI for anything they desire, it won't serve only the 1%. Even today, the AI applications we have serve the general public and many SOTA models are freely accessible on github. You only need a few GPUs to do cutting edge research, you can do AI development in a garage with less money than it cost to raise the house. The datasets we have in public domain are ever growing
      • by Chas ( 5144 )

        You missed my point.

        It's not because we can't make perfectly serviceable, friendly AI.

        It's because humans, at the bottom of it all, are assholes who could fuck up a nightmare.

  • And of course fossil fuels (which are peaking) that power mechanized agriculture had nothing to do with it.

  • Who proves that Natural Stupidity is still a more clear and present danger than Artificial Intelligence.
    Especially when it's coupled with pathological greed.
  • AI could be our friend if that's what its owners/creators want it to do.

    So far, it looks like they want it to corner markets, deploy advertising, create addictions, shape public opinion, and subvert democracy.

    The big tech companies aren't even trying to solve the big problems that face humanity. They're not even trying to solve the big problems created by their huge campuses (housing, transportation). Where's the money in that?

    • They are trying to solve the big problems of vision, speech, robotics, reasoning, unsupervised learning, learning how to act intelligently (reinforcement learning) and acquisition of common sense. They are creating virtual worlds for AI agents, such as OpenAi Gym, DeepMind Lab, MuJoCo, Microsoft AirSim, Arcade Learning Environment etc. These environments are freely accessible and useful in training AI agents and robots. They are creating AI frameworks like TensorFlow, PyTorch and CNTK. These libraries come
  • by aberglas ( 991072 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @07:58PM (#56149410)

    Gates himself once said that we tend to overestimate what we can achieve in one year, yet underestimate what we can achieve in ten years.


    Yet he seems blind to what we are likely to achieve in 50..200 years. Namely machines that can really think. Machines that can program themselves. Machines that no longer need us.

    Why would such machines want to support parasitic humans? And how could they in the ongoing battle for existence? []

    (I actually sent Gates a copy of the book, he evidently did not read it.)

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      Why would such machines want to support parasitic humans?

      Because we parasitic humans designed them to want to support us.

      Too many people think that AI inevitably means machines that think and act like humans, including all of humans' moral failings. While that is one possible outcome, it is certainly not the only outcome, nor even the most likely one. Human behavior was shaped by millennia of natural evolution; machine behavior is shaped solely by the humans who develop the machines. Expecting machines to spontaneously start acting like humans is about as rati

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Don't be so mean, perhaps, Mr Gates,hmm, Bill, is just looking for a friend and well, as most people seem to like his money much more than the person himself, he needs an artificial friend and is just seeking help in it's creation.

      Perhaps with sufficient AI's we could lock the excessively greedy in their own little worlds where they own everything and everyone worships them. Probably better for them and better for us, as they would no longer be pushing their greed and desire for worship on the rest of us.

  • Sure, he can be your friend.

    You could even say Al could be your pal.

  • AI can be anything (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shemmie ( 909181 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @09:10PM (#56149742)

    AI will be whatever it's programmed to be.

    I picked up a book the other day on AI coding on .NET - it was fascinating.

    How do I do image recognition? Well... you take a photo, and send it off to an Azure web service, and then hey presto, you'll receive a message with the data from the photo.

    How do I do voice recognition? Well... you get some audio, and send it off to an Azure web service...

    This isn't an exclusive Microsoft shitheap, for a change. There's a real push to have AI behind a paywall. That suggests to me that AI won't be inherently friendly, or unfriendly. It'll simply be profitable.

  • AI itself does not scares me. AI in the hands of greedy capitalists is what frightens me.

    Indeed they will do more with less: more sales, more profits, less workers, less income. And everything will collapse again in an overproduction crisis, with an exploding amount of poverty and inequalities.

  • "Is" or "Will always be" would sound much better.. a simple "can besounds suboptimal for me.

"You must have an IQ of at least half a million." -- Popeye