How intelligent is Artificial Intelligence?

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More dangerous than the atomic bomb?

Silicon Valley icon Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, is famous for his warnings with regard to Artificial Intelligence. Last summer he declared that AI was the greatest conceivable threat to our existence. Stephen Hawking isn't new to the discussion, either, calling it famously the "worst mistake ever made."

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Hysteria exaggerated?

Aren't AI robots more helpful than harmful like in the recent Hollywood film Chappie? A reprogramming gives the robot feelings and thoughts, and he helps humanity against an aggressive robotic police force.

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High-speed drone flop

Recent occurrences have shown, however, that not every instance of AI is without fault. All it took was nine minutes for the Falcon HTV-2 to sink in the ocean on a test flight in the summer of 2011. The US military drone was unmanned.

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Not really all that new

Despite the resurgence, AI in military systems is a foregone conclusion. For over two decades, machines and robotic components have been advancing military systems. One prime example - the Eurofighter.

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Sci-Fi meets reality

The intelligent machines are getting more and more advanced - in many cases operational. The four-legged robot BigDog can haul cargo on offroad terrain, ice and snow. The robotics developer Boston Dynamics was bought by Google.

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Guidance sought

This week's letter has made clear that the entire AI community is seeking ethical guidelines, and even political regulation, to ensure that standards are set for how machines can be programmed. This is the only way to prevent abuse of Artificial Intelligence - and to put a stop to it getting out of control.

Stephen Hawking can attract attention to pretty much any scientific debate. The discussion of the safety of Artificial Intelligence is by now a dusty one, indeed. So why the sudden resurgence?