Yoshua Bengio, along with Geoff Hinton and Yann LeCun is known for pioneering the deep learning technique – a method currently being used in AI research in companies such as Facebook and Google.
Unlike Hinton and LeCun who joined Google and Facebook, respectively, Bengio remains as an educator at the University of Montreal. From this vantage point, Bengio sees that AI research is slowly being concentrated in the hands of a few countries and companies and says that this is a dangerous thing. Moreover, he adds that the creation of killer robots targeting humans must be prevented at all costs.
Why It Matters
As a pioneer in the area of deep learning, Bengio has touched on a number of sensitive topics in this interview, without him realizing it.
For too long, US and China, the two countries leading AI research, has failed to utilize their new technology to deliver on the promise of AI – the creation of new solutions to old social problems. They have focused their research on furthering their own objectives, at the expense of other countries and communities.
AI is once again, a battle for resources, despite the fact that it was created to extend resources and human capacities for the achievement of the full human potential. The quest for immortality among transhumanists is an expression of the same kind of thinking, only this time, it is concentrated on the desires of a few powerful individuals.
Even when a new technology enables us to meet the needs of every individual on this planet, we will never move towards this direction without a proper understanding of the kind of future the world is striving towards. It happened with the scientific revolution, the industrial revolution, with capitalism, and globalization. This is the legacy of materialist science, which believes that everything in the world can be traced to matter. We continue in this self-serving cycle. We continue to operate on limitations. We think that there is not enough land to grow our food, not enough money to buy what we want and need, not enough military power to exert our will. What we need at this point is not more science. What we need is cultural renewal.
If we consider the results of the new sciences such as quantum physics and astrophysics shows that there is no matter to begin with, and that there are realities that cannot be traced back to a physical existence. It means that there is so much more we don’t know about the world, and AI will only help us deal with the basics.
In the end, it is up to humanity to make AI work, and we can make it work if we realize that we did not come on this earth only to accumulate riches and power, or to become immortals so that we may explore all the secrets of the earth. We came for a very specific purpose, and if we pay attention to the results being provided by the post-materialist sciences, then we will begin to have an idea.