Apocalypse not now? AI’s benefits may yet outweigh its very real dangers

July 9, 2023
Est. Reading: 1 minute


A new Cambridge University institute will try to harness the good and anticipate the bad effects of artificial intelligence

Stephen Cave has considerable experience of well-intentioned actions that have unhappy consequences. A former senior diplomat in the foreign office during the New Labour era, he was involved in treaty negotiations which later – and unexpectedly – unravelled to trigger several international events that included Brexit. “I know the impact of well-meant global events that have gone wrong,” he admits.

His experience could prove valuable, however. The former diplomat, now a senior academic, is about to head a new Cambridge University institute which will investigate all aspects of artificial intelligence in a bid to pinpoint the intellectual perils we face from the growing prowess of computers and to highlight its positive uses. An appreciation of the dangers of unintended consequences should come in handy. “There has been a lot of emphasis in the media on AI leading to human extinction or the collapse of civilisation,” says Cave. “These fears are exaggerated but that does not mean AI will not cause harm to society if we are not careful.”

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​Artificial intelligence (AI) | The Guardian

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