If we could solve one global issue at the snap of our fingers, what would it be? Terrorism? Drug abuse? Social justice? According to Lucas Schaberg, a rising high school junior, some issues are clearly more pressing than others.
In his opinion, we should be most concerned with the “big issues concerning the survival of humans, not just as individuals but as a species.” We should be most concerned with protecting the human race and the planet from extinction from forces such as climate change, nuclear warfare, and the depletion of our fossil fuels.
Schaberg said that the most important of these is climate change because of how quickly our environment is deteriorating. “Although obviously there is a lot of injustice in the world, if we don’t stop climate change very soon it could end up making the planet unlivable.” Droughts, severe hurricanes, and rising sea levels are already threatening places around the world, and it is clear that something must be done quickly. “We can figure everything else out later as long as we are all still here to do it.”
I also had the opportunity to talk with Lucas about his thoughts on artificial intelligence, or AI, and how he feels the field will change in the future. The development of AI and robotics has been surging in the last few years and will likely continue to do so. Will there soon be robots walking among us? It is hard to say. But we clearly need to develop policies to anticipate for any scenario.
“No one has actually built AI that can think for itself at a level equal to or greater than that of a human yet. And the worry is that if they do, we risk losing control of it very quickly.” In our increasingly digitized world, ‘smart’ appliances are becoming more and more common. Many fear that a free-thinking machine with access to the internet could become a serious threat. What’s more, a conscious robot able to comprehend itself would likely be able to build a machine smarter than itself, starting a rapid chain reaction of unpredictable development. “We need to be careful that whatever we develop has systems in place to make sure that it is safe.”
Tags: AI, artificial_intelligence, climate_change, technology