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AI technology can’t replace humanity: expert

(People's Daily Online)    16:41, August 22, 2018
AI technology can’t replace humanity: expert
Li Kaifu (right) at a book sharing party in Beijing on August 14. Photo by Miao Wanyi/People's Daily Online)

The most capricious discourses about the future of AI technology must be “destroy humans” and “help humans lead a better life”—two comments that came from the mouth of the social humanoid robot, Sophia.

As the world’s first robot citizen—a full citizen of Saudi Arabia, Sophia can’t be held accountable for any of her “opinions” for now. However, her existence has sparked discussions about ethical issues surrounding AI technology at a time when most are focused on whether AI will lead to a new industrial revolution and widespread loss of jobs.

Li Kaifu, an AI expert and a successful entrepreneur from Taiwan, China, expressed his insightful thoughts on the current AI-induced turmoil—humanity.

At book sharing party in Beijing on August 14, Li shared an impressive story that inspired him during his battle against lymphoma, a cancer that almost took his life.

A friend of his built a product that helped elderly people go about their daily lives, such as ordering food, tuning on TV, calling doctors, and other things. But the one thing that received by far the most use during the trial wasn’t any of the above. It was a customer-service button that, according to a customer service representative, allowed them to call someone to talk to when they were feeling lonely.

At that moment, Li and his friend realized that what elderly people wanted more than anything else was companionship.

“AI has no ability or desire to love or to be loved, no matter how advanced it is. The only thing that differentiates us from AI is the humanity that is deeply rooted in our human hearts,” Li told People’s Daily.

When AI technology is capable of doing everything, what does it mean to be human? The answer is the ability to love, according to Li, who is also chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, a venture capital company aiming to nurture successful Chinese start-ups.

The fear of losing the connection to human society serves as the key concern over all the potential ones caused by AI. “The human species is prone to loneliness, even in the smartphone era. The coming flood of AI products should double down on what makes us truly human,” Li added.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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