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    Rise of the Machines: Should We Be Afraid of Artificial Intelligence?

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    Eminent physicist Stephen Hawking has expressed concern that artificial intelligence (AI) may eventually replace humans altogether. In an interview with Sputnik, Dr Aniko Ekart, Associate Dean for Postgraduate programs at Aston University, gave her thoughts on whether robots will become smarter than people.

    Sputnik: Do you believe AI may eventually be able to replace humans in all spheres of life or do you think that there are human qualities that may be difficult recreate in robots?

    Aniko: I am more concerned about the malicious use of AI than the actual possibilities that we have in it. I would say that the technologies have advanced already and I see that such a robot would not be of any harm and obviously very much possible.

    It would also be very helpful for the aging population in terms of ensuring appropriate care and helping these people lead a normal life. Another question is whether AI will be able to replicate every area of what we are doing. I think personally that creativity and innovation are the areas that are probably harder to replicate.

    On the other side, we have robots answering a phone, selling tickets and making translations from one language to another. And I see all this as a great success already.

    Sputnik: Is there going to be sufficient jobs to support an artificial intelligence environment?

    Aniko: Absolutely. I would say there will be sufficient jobs and there will probably be jobs that at the moment we cannot even imagine what they will be. For example, a very large proportion of the population today is dealing with the work that relies heavily on the Internet, something that was not the case a hundred years ago.

    I also think that many jobs will disappear, which is part of progress and which we should not be afraid of.

    What we should be really careful about is how we educate the children so that they could be interested in how AI could be of help to them.

    Sputnik: Do you think there is a danger of robots becoming smarter than humans?

    Aniko: It all depends on how we define the word 'smarter'. One of the definitions of AI stipulates that we created intelligent machines that cannot perform all those things that humans already can do now.

    READ MORE: Internet's Got Talent: New AI Trawls the Web In Search Of Next Da Vinci Code

    On the other side, there are machines that can do things better than we do and we should not be particularly afraid of this. If we ensure that we will only use AI and robots for positive things, then we will feel fine.

    Sputnik: How much time will pass before a robot will be superior or equal to humans?

    Aniko: It's very difficult to say when we will create a robot that will be as intelligent as a human being. What I think so far is that the speed with which AI is developing is much faster now that it was maybe twenty years ago. So it's quite difficult to predict when it will happen.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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