The Matrix is getting a reboot, and people are understandably worried. There's a largely negative connotation associated with rebooting older films, especially a movie like The Matrix. The fact that the #Wachowskis may not even be involved signals even more cause for alarm.
But while fans are arguing over the pros and cons of rehashing a cult classic, there's an arguably more dire situation at hand: the very real possibility of a Matrix-style robot uprising that threatens to enslave us all.
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Wake Up Sheeple
Things have changed since 1999. The original Matrix was released in the midst of Y2K panic, a fear which was reflected in the film's dystopian narrative. But technology has continued to advance in the last 18 years at an unprecedented rate, and the potential dangers that our current technology poses are far more dire than even the Y2K bug.
Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic at the moment, and for good reason. While we don't have Westworld-style cyborgs passing the Turing test with flying colors, it's a technology that's becoming more and more integrated into things we use everyday, from language translation to music production.
But is AI technology progressing at such a rate that there might be cause for alarm? Some of the world's leading scientists and tech experts certainly seem to think so. In fact, some of our current real-life technology may be taking us ever closer to making the horrors of #TheMatrix a reality in a matter of decades.
How Can We Stop It?
Luckily, some of the world's leading scientific experts are heavily invested in monitoring AI technology in an attempt to prevent the enslavement of mankind— after all, it's kind of important.
From ensuring necessary precautions are taken in the development process to maintaining strict ethical guidelines, these are just some of the people trying to prevent The Matrix from coming true:
Elon Musk caused quite the stir when he stated that we're almost definitely living in a simulation, and he's been just as candid about his views on AI; in an interview with The Guardian, he likened its development to a demonic ritual:
"With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon."
During the 2016 Code Conference, Musk warned that AI could advance at such a rate that it could turn humans into "house cats." He's also a firm believer in biotechnology that will blur the line between man and machine, allowing us to keep up with the advanced skills of a computer in order to avoid becoming obsolete:
Fortunately, Musk is also putting his money where his mouth is. As well as developing the aforementioned "neural lace", he's deeply invested in AI ethics. He's pledged $10 million to the Future Of Life Institute, an organization dedicated to minimizing the risks associated with AI's development. The Institute focuses on a safe and responsible method for developing AI, rather than its technological potential.
Musk is also the co-chairman of OpenAI, another AI research company that aims to protect humanity from extinction at the hands of a volatile technology. He's not the only person to support their vision, either— over $1 billion has been pledged to further OpenAI's cause by the likes of PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and even Amazon Web Services.
Considering his position as one of the most intelligent people in the world, Stephen Hawking's predictions on AI are more than a little horrifying. The scientist told the BBC that "the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race".
Like Musk, Hawking is also an adviser for the Future of Life Institute, and has endorsed Cambridge University's institute dedicated to AI research. While he does admit to the potential benefits of AI technology, he also told the BBC that AI technology would be "either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity".
Microsoft founder Bill Gates is definitely on board with Musk when it comes to concerns about AI, as stated in his Reddit AMA:
For those unable to pledge millions of dollars towards AI ethics organizations, Gates has often encouraged the public to simply educate themselves on the dangers of AI by reading up on the subject. In the prelude of a potential struggle for power against a superior technological threat, the best thing we can arm ourselves with is knowledge.
Do you think we could face a Matrix-style artificial intelligence uprising?