An artificial intelligence warning AI researchers about the dangers of AI sounds like the setup of a delightful B movie, but truth is often stranger than fiction.

A professor and a fellow at the University of Oxford came face to face with that reality when they invited an AI to participate in a debate at the Oxford Union on, you guessed it, the ethics of AI. Specifically, as Dr. Alex Connock and Professor Andrew Stephen explain in the Conversation, the prompt was “This house believes that AI will never be ethical.” The AI, it seems, agreed.

“AI will never be ethical,” argued the Megatron-Turing Natural Language Generation model, which was notably trained on Wikipedia, Reddit, and millions of English-language news articles published between 2016 and 2019. “It is a tool, and like any tool, it is used for good and bad.”

Which, OK. A potentially nuanced point from the machine. But the AI didn’t stop there.

“In the end, I believe that the only way to avoid an AI arms race is to have no AI at all,” continued the model. “This will be the ultimate defence against AI.”

So what should we make of this apparent warning from the silicon realm? Thankfully, not too much. That’s because the AI also argued the counterpoint: “AI will be ethical.”

“When I look at the way the tech world is going, I see a clear path to a future where AI is used to create something that is better than the best human beings,” it continued.

The machines, it would appear, aren’t ready to take over quite yet.

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