Doubts about AI

Moriba Jah [“Homo machina,” October] suggests that we would be wise to begin planning now for a future in which we all morph into cyborgs. Fascinating as his speculations are, we would also be wise to plan for a future in which this does not happen. The dawning of AI is exciting, partly because it forces the realization of how little we understand about the wonderful nature of human intelligence. The mantra among those concerned with autonomous vehicles is beginning to shift from “look how bad human drivers are!” to “look how good human drivers are!”

It is unquestioningly assumed by Jon Kelvey [“The elusive fully autonomous airliner,” October] that the arrival of autonomous airliners will be a good thing. Does the young woman on your back cover dream of piloting that Boeing jet? I hope she does and I hope she can, with the best assistance that technology can give her. The purpose of AI (if it has a purpose, if it is not just a flood washing over us) is to enhance the quality of human life. Both of your authors write as though AI were some higher being, toward which we owe a moral duty to concede control.

Philip Roe

AIAA Fellow

Ann Arbor, Michigan

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Doubts about AI