Will.i.am is urging the public not to “live in fear” of artificial intelligence, comparing the emerging technology to the invention of the automobile and electricity.
The Black Eyed Peas musician-turned The Voice UK singing coach told BBC’s Today programme on Monday that people needed to be educated now on how to prepare for AI to get over the “uncertainty and fear about the dangers around it”.
The entrepreneur said governments should focus on those “left behind” during the last industrial revolution, believing these people will be able to “come up with new ways of working” with AI, having “lived in fear their whole lives”.
He told the World Economic Forum in Davos last month that AI could help close the world’s wealth gap, and contended that those left behind by technology could use it to not only catch-up, but get ahead.
A recent Oxfam report revealed in January that just 42 people own the same amount of wealth as the poorest 50% percent worldwide.
Will.i.am has just published his first book - WaR: Wizards and Robots - which he co-wrote along with futurist David Bryan Johnson.
Johnson, who met Will.i.am while they both worked at Intel, said by keeping “people at the centre” of AI development, there was nothing to fear.
“You need to remember that the technology doesn’t get to decide, it is humans that get to decide. Human beings make the technology,” he said.
“A lot of the fears are from the fact that there are no regulations right now,” Will.i.am said, likening the uncertainty to the chaos that existed when vehicles and pedestrian shared the streets.
Johnson said fears around robots taking jobs could be eased by changing the conversation people were having around robots, something he and Will.i.am tried to do with their book: “One of the things I know as a futurist is you change the story people tell themselves about the future they are going to live in... that’s what we did with Wizards and Robots... it is that technology is not here to harm us.”