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In discussions about the implications of artificial intelligence (AI), someone almost always evokes the ancient Greek myth of Pandora's box.The actual story of Pandora is far more apropos to debates about AI and machine learning than many realize.So, too, is the cloying image of Hope emerging from the vessel last to soothe men's souls.Hence, at least one ancient artist depicted Elpis/Hope, much like Pandora, with a smirking grin.Soon, the operational logic of AI decision-making systems will be inscrutable not just to their users, but also to their creators. Among other threats, the possibility that AI systems will be hacked by malign actors, or deployed by terrorists and tyrants, now looms large.When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, MIT's Andrew McAfee, Lili Cheng of Microsoft, and other AI optimists assure us that AI will bring great benefits, one cannot help but think of Epimetheus and Elpis. It seems wiser to heed modern-day Promethean thinkers such as the late Stephen Hawking, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and the 115 other tech leaders who in 2017 spoke out about the threat of weaponized AI and robotics. These Prometheans' concerns have been echoed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin and AI ethicists such as Joanna Bryson and Patrick Lin, who caution against recklessly accepting AI's "gifts" before figuring out how to control them.
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