When Hawking talks about the dangers of Artificial Intelligence

2 days ago I came across an article that was very amusing and at the same time very deep in many senses. The article published on www.bbc.com had the following headline: “Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind”.

Anybody who knows Stephen Hawking will most probably understand why the title of the article was so interesting. Hawking, a brilliant and legendary physicist, has got a motor neuron disease which eventually left him paralyzed and made him communicate with the world through a speech generating device. As noted in the article by BBC, speech generating devices can be considered as early forms of AI. Now, when asked about the development of Artificial Intelligence, Hawking responded, “The development of full artificial intelligence (AI) could spell the end of the human race.” He expressed his concern that highly developed technology with its own “thinking mind” can turn into something bigger and dangerous for the human race. “It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” he added. “Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”

I wrote about Artificial Intelligence and its EFL implications in one of my old posts, where I talked about the limitations and challenges the AI still faces for a more effective use for TEFL purposes. However, what Hawking said raises also other issues rather just the problems of lack of practicality, miscommunication, and so on. As a teacher I have to accept that we need to at least try the resources created for educational purposes because we can’t decide on using something or not for our learners basing our choice only on our subjective opinion. However, we cannot also deny that we need to come up with educational tools which will only be beneficial for our learners. I think Hawking’s warning needs to be paid attention to. It is important that the tools that we create or use for learning, don’t start using us. It is not a secret that AI becomes richer  due to conversations with us, What do you think about this? What do you think will be the impact of the AI development on education?

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