Letter: Azimov’s laws of robotics should also apply to AI

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Stephen Bush’s fears about the misuse of artificial intelligence are well-posed and accurate (“Beware the Rise of the Black Box Algorithm,” Opinion, September 20).

AI is supposed to allow machines to replicate the capabilities of the human mind; but she can never undertake such a complex process in its entirety and must not be allowed to do so.

While AI is a tremendous capability booster, the human body and mind are, and must remain, the foundation of humanity’s existence. Elements of business can be delegated to such virtual management, but the responsibility and ultimate control must remain with humans.

All tools, from the simple screwdriver to the interactive global management systems, are only aids to human activity and should never replace the human capacity to intervene in the process and to have control over it.

Awareness of the danger of losing control is not new.

In the early 19th century, ideas about artificial men and thinking machines were developed in fiction, such as in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankensteinfirst published in 1818, or Rossum’s universal robotsplay by Czech writer Karel Čapek published in 1920, which was the first work to introduce the word “robot”.

The more specific danger was also identified in the 1920s and introduced in the 1940s by Isaac Asimov, and the first warning issued in the Three Laws of Robotics in its history run around in March 1942.

AI must be subject to the laws of robotics; if responsibility and control are lost, there is room for error and abuse, and the first step on the road to human redundancy is taken.

Matt Minshall
Batz-Sur-Mer, Brittany, France

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