Artificial intelligence (AI), which was invented in the 1940s, is a hot topic nowadays. Today, robots are used in many industries around the world.
AI will continue to play a very important role in the future. Robots can help humans tackle dangerous tasks, such as defusing bombs, exploring space, and cleaning nuclear waste.
However, if AI continues to develop at the current rapid pace, I am worried that it could mean the end of human civilisation. A lot of jobs will disappear and people will become lazy because robots will be able to do almost anything.
I recently read Mary Shelley’s classic, Frankenstein. In the book, Victor Frankenstein creates a “monster” who kills his brother. Victor later realises that he is responsible for the terrible acts committed by his creation.
The book is a useful reminder about the dangers posed by the unchecked development of AI. Victor’s creation is like a robot and he has no power over it. Similarly, there could be a time when humans won’t be able to control their machines.
If robots are allowed to have complex thinking abilities, they will “overpower” humans one day and we will die out.
Humans should be very careful about robots. Their development could pose a serious threat to all of us.
Lam Ying-yu, Pope Paul VI College
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Ying-yu. We have come a long way since the creation of the first electronic digital computers in the 1940s.
I think your theory about robots destroying human civilisation may be a little far-fetched.
Your thoughts remind me of the late British scientist, Stephen Hawking, who once said: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Hawking admitted that AI was very useful, but he feared the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans. However, many people have rejected his views.
The use of AI has its pros and cons, but it is important to think of this technology as a support system. It is different from the robots in science-fiction films and stories which try to rule the world by dominating humans. Maybe scientists can think of methods to keep the machines under control when they become more intelligent than humans.
What’s more, Hong Kong lags behind other major economies in this field. Maybe we can start with more local students studying STEM subjects at school and university. That could be a key to the city’s future prosperity.
M. J. Premaratne, sub-editor