We will not be enslaved by robots – POLITICO

PARIS – The Conseil d’État, France’s highest administrative court, has dismissed the idea that artificial intelligence poses an existential threat to humanity, assuring the public that they are not stealthy killer robots themselves.

The Conseil d’État provides administrative guidance to the government and was mandated by then Prime Minister Jean Castex in June last year to provide advice on how to develop the use of artificial intelligence in public administration and mitigate its risks.

The report released Tuesday is scathing about what it calls the myth of the “singularity,” where technology outwits and controls humanity. The court asked the government to counteract this “fantasy” in its AI strategy. “Reflection on artificial intelligence often falls prey to a parasitic, over-focus on artificial general intelligence.” Artificial general intelligence, or AGI, is a name for the theory that AI could outperform human intelligence.

In a press conference, members of the council were asked why they dismiss existential risks such as the disempowerment of humanity by machines that have learned to do tasks better than humans.

Reporter and prosecutor Alexandre Lallet said: “We have not reached what some call the ‘singularity’ where machines take over and people are forced into service, like in some American blockbusters or science fiction works. It’s always people making decisions.”

Lallet dismissed the question of whether some AI systems should be given legal personality once they are likely to become more complex than small organisms, saying: “[The question] didn’t seem necessary or important to us.”

Prosecutor Thierry Tuot added: “There are two ways of thinking. One comes mainly from the other side of the Atlantic where sci-fi takes control, the other is much more realistic and deals with possible uses that remain tied to reality.”

“That’s what all the scientists we spoke to think [singularity] is a fantasy, pure and simple, and it boils down to pure marketing,” Tuot continued. “We can confirm the revelation that none of us are actually robots.” He said other risks, such as the use of AI-controlled weapons in the military, were more urgent.

Renaud Vedel, who was on the working group as France’s top AI coordinator and is now cabinet director to digital minister Jean-Noël Barrot, said in an interview in May that the dispute was settled: “The debate was a bit too focused on the singularity and things like that, but luckily that’s over now.”

A European AI researcher, who wished to remain anonymous in the face of what he described as “the rejection of the idea of ​​AGI by public and academic authorities”, responded to the Conseil’s assessment, saying: “AGI is a scientific hypothesis that one should be kept in mind, even if there is a lack of consensus among academic authorities. 70 years ago there was a lack of consensus that fossil fuels cause climate change. Some individuals began to point out the risk; they should have been heard and climate change could have been avoided.”

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