Thursday 6 August 2020 3:32 am

DEBATE: Is Elon Musk right to predict that AI will overtake humans within five years?

Chetan Dube is chief executive at IPsoft
and Joe Baguley
Joe Baguley is EMEA vice president and chief technology officer at software firm VMware

Is Elon Musk right to predict that artificial intelligence will overtake humans within five years?

Chetan Dube, chief executive of IPsoft, says YES.

Elon Musk is right. For the last few years we have been saying that by 2025 we will pass someone in the corridor and not know if they are human or android. 

That’s not to say that we’re going to find ourselves in a “terminator” situation of artificial intelligence taking over the world, but machines will be the faithful assistants taking care of all ordinary chores. Man will be liberated from subsistence to creative expression, where humans will continue to reign supreme. 

This diffusion of carbon and silicon forms will be inevitable but a bit weird initially, as Musk points out. But as humans settle to this new normal, the new hybrid workforce will make for an exponentially more efficient planet.

Read more: How AI technology is leading the charge against Covid-19

Joe Baguley, vice president and chief technology officer EMEA at VMware, says NO.

There is nothing to be gained from pitching artificial intelligence against humans. 

While it is true that some AI technologies show real promise and will have a massive impact on the world as we know it over the next five years, we will only see humans being overtaken by AI in task-specific areas, not in the “general AI” that many people think of. 

For example, OpenAI’s new GPT-3 language generator can generate incredibly human-like text on demand, but that’s not to say AI has the nuance or creativity to understand the wider debates that inform the translation of more complex texts like Proust. 

So, yes — AI will catalyse massive transformational change in five years. But no — it will not overtake us. It will just further demonstrate the value of our humanness, and augment our ability and opportunities to use it.

Read more: Sadiq Khan tasks advisers to create emerging tech plan for London

Main image credit: Getty

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.