From virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, to robotic vacuums and self-driving cars, to automated investment portfolio managers and marketing bots, artificial intelligence has become a big part of our everyday lives. Still, thinking about AI, many of us imagine human-like robots who, according to countless science fiction stories, will become independent and rebel one day.
No one knows, however, when humans will create an intelligent or sentient AI, said John Basl, associate professor of philosophy at Northeastern’s College of Social Sciences and Humanities, whose research focuses on the ethics of emerging technologies such as AI and synthetic biology. “When you hear Google talk, they talk as if this is just right around the corner or definitely within our lifetimes,” Basl said. “And they are very cavalier about it.”