Will your grandchildren face extinction? Even worse, will they become robotic slaves to a supercomputer?

Humanity is facing its greatest challenge, artificial intelligence (AI). Recent experiments suggest even primitive artificially intelligent machines are capable of learning deceit, greed, and self-preservation, without being programmed to do so. There is alarming evidence that artificial intelligence, without legislation to police its development, will displace humans as the dominant species by the end of the twenty-first century.

There is no doubt that AI is the new scientific frontier, and it is making its way into many aspects of our lives. Our world includes “smart” machines with varying degrees of AI, including touch-screen computers, smartphones, self-parking cars, smart bombs, pacemakers, and brain implants to treat Parkinson’s disease. In essence, AI is changing the cultural landscape, and we are embracing it at an unprecedented rate. Currently, humanity is largely unaware of the potential dangers that strong artificially intelligent machines pose. In this context, the word “strong” signifies AI greater than human intelligence.

Most of humanity perceives only the positive aspects of AI technology. This includes robotic factories, such as Tesla Motors, which manufactures electric cars that are ecofriendly. There’s also the da Vinci Surgical System, a robotic platform designed to expand the surgeon’s capabilities and offer a state-of-the-art, minimally invasive option for major surgery. These are only two of many examples of how AI is positively affecting our lives. However, there is a dark side. For example, Gartner Inc., a technology research group, forecasts robots and drones will replace a third of all workers by 2025. Could AI create an unemployment crisis? The US military is deploying AI into many aspects of warfare. Will autonomous drones replace human pilots and make war more palatable to technologically advanced countries? As AI permeates the medical field, the average human lifespan will increase. Eventually, strong artificially intelligent humans (SAHs) with AI brain implants to enhance their intelligence and cybernetic organs will become immortal. Will this exacerbate the worldwide population crisis, which already as a concern at the United Nations? By 2045 most AI futurists predict that a single strong artificially intelligent machine (SAM) will exceed the cognitive intelligence of the entire human race. How will SAMs view us? Objectively, humanity is an unpredictable species. We engage in wars, develop weapons capable of destroying the world, and maliciously release computer viruses. Will SAMs view us as a threat? Will we be able to maintain control of strong AI or will we fall victim to our own invention?