Jakarta. Speakers at this year's World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi, Russia, agreed that no matter how advanced modern technology becomes, artificial intelligence will never surpass human intellect.
Erik Mannens, a data science professor and research manager at Ghent University in Belgium, said during a panel discussion titled "Big Data: Revolution" on Wednesday (18/10) that the most powerful computer today is still the human mind.
Evgeny Rossinsky, service technology director at Russian video streaming platform IVI, agreed.
"We taught the machines to process, systematize and analyze information to sell desired popular content to our users, but over the coming years, computers will not replace human intellect entirely," he said.
However, the common perception that artificial intelligence, or AI, will eventually surpass the human brain is not completely baseless.
According to Alexander Kaplan, a psychophysiology and psychopharmacology professor at Moscow State University, the brain was originally not prepared for life in modern conditions. Having adopted to living in caves, people simply cannot cope with the rapid development in technology and the abundance of information.
This is confirmed by an increase in instances of neurotic disorders as technology becomes ever more sophisticated.
"We are told the solution to our problems is in artificial intelligence. All these difficult problems that overload our brains must find their solution in technology," the scientist said during a neuroscience discussion on Wednesday.
However, Kaplan does not believe AI is the way out. It can outmatch the brain only in terms of memory and speed, but will never be able to perform all the tasks the brain is capable of, so the solution is to combine the brain and systems that will assist it.
Importance of Human Control
Speaking during the "Images of the Future: Common Values and Personal Contribution" panel discussion, Alibaba Group president Michael Evans said robots lack emotions, creativity and moral values, so humans cannot be completely excluded from business practices.
By having no moral self-restraint, one of the concerns that arise in discussions about AI is how far it will interfere in human life.
"We try to teach artificial intelligence to process giant bodies of information that in two or three years each of you will use on your smartphones, but without human control, it undermines our security," Mannens said.
Neuroscientist Tatyana Gavrilova added that humans cannot fully trust AI programs to run by themselves, because like any machines, they can have technical errors. An example she gave was the use of IBM's Watson, an AI platform with functions that include assisting medical professionals in making clinical decisions.
"If you entrust it with a person's treatment, an operation, for instance, and it chooses the wrong algorithm, the consequences could be irreversible," the scientist said.
Psychologist Olaf Hauer provided a rather pessimistic outlook during an intellectual battle session called "Human Intellect vs. Machines" on Tuesday. He said AI can open a Pandora's box by becoming uncontrollable and dangerous to humans because the world is too full of evil.
"We can use AI for agriculture, for trips to Mars and for working in dangerous conditions. But I feel like wars are not going to go away. And this means that somebody can use AI as a weapon," he said.
Hauer opposes the development of intellectual machines because the makers cannot be trusted, let alone their creations.
"We must stop and think whether we, people, trust each other and whether we trust machines. And it is also an interesting question of whether different AIs trust each other," he said.
His statement was countered by cryptocurrency specialist Daniel Wolfe, who argued that humanity will miss out a great deal if it refrains from developing AI technology. For him, peaceful coexistence and cooperation are the key.
"Humanity must realize its great potential and use it to maximum advantage," he said.