Fear Not, Your Taxes Are Being Well Spent to Keep Robot Overlords at Bay

Andrey_Popov / shutterstock.com
Andrey_Popov / shutterstock.com

Because climate change has been failing to rile the masses, President Joe Biden has decided to drop $140 million in taxpayer money to protect the United States against killer robots instead.

The money is intended to be used to create seven new National AI Research Institutes to encourage AI advances that are ethical, responsible, and trustworthy. The seven new institutes will bring the total to 25 dedicated to researching AI and protecting citizens from robot overlords. The additional $140 million is in addition to the $600 million already set aside for continuing ethical AI research.

In late 2022, Biden released the AI Bill of Rights, addressing the safe and effective use of technology, discrimination protections, data privacy, and transparency.

AI has been thrust back into the spotlight after a dire warning from the Godfather of AI, Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, who dubbed AI as more urgent than climate change. Hinton warned that if left unchecked, AI will disrupt the job market, provide hackers with weapons to take down society, and, perhaps most frightening of all, “fuel the spread of misinformation.”

Hinton hinted that AI will eventually outgrow the need for human control and develop their own computer codes, with a very real possibility of AI-powered weapon systems.

While this sounds like the plot of the 1983 movie War Games, Hinton is just the latest to issue warnings, joining the ranks of Microsoft officials and Elon Musk. Hinton received the Turing Award in 2018 for his groundbreaking work on neural networks. He laid the groundwork for the creation of ChatGPT and other Google AI products, but he recently stated that he regrets his work due to the threat it poses for humans.

“The idea that this stuff could actually get smarter than people — a few people believed that.” Hinton explained. “But most people thought it was way off. And I thought it was way off. I thought it was 30 to 50 years or even longer away. Obviously, I no longer think that.”

Experts are anticipating an independent exercise during an August hacker event later this year. The event, called DEFCON 31, will allow thousands to evaluate AI systems to ensure they are aligned with the AI Bill of Rights.

There has already been a call from more than 1000 experts in March this year to pause AI development for six months to ensure that guidelines could be created. Hinton, however, thinks the threat is too serious to wait six months. “I’m in the camp that thinks this is an existential risk, and it’s close enough that we ought to be working very hard right now, and putting a lot of resources into figuring out what we can do about it,” Hinton said.

Thousands of experts penned an open letter, citing job losses, the spread of “propaganda and untruth, and, of course, the fear that developing “nonhuman minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us,” ending in the eventual “loss of control of our civilization.”

Killer robots aside, AI has already had a negative effect on the labor market. Earlier this month, tech giant IBM announced a hiring pause in filling 8,000 open positions because the roles could be performed by AI.

When it comes to intelligence, Vice President Kamala Harris may not be the first person to come to mind, but she is scheduled to meet with tech giants like OpenAI, Alphabet, and Microsoft to discuss even more safeguards for the AI industry. Per the White House, the meeting is slated to be “a frank discussion of the risks we each see in current and near-term AI development, actions to mitigate those risks, and other ways we can work together to ensure the American people benefit from advances in AI while being protected from its harms.”

Open borders, a tanking economy, out of control inflation, and Biden’s declining cognitive health and spiraling popularity ratings, should be enough for the White House to worry about.

It’s only natural that the White House is against killer robots. After all, the only tyrannical overlord they want in charge is Biden.