Kill Switch

It’s the plot to so many good and bad sci-fi movies. Mankind builds robots, becomes increasingly dependent on them, then the robots take over and begin running things.

As great strides have been taken in the area of robotics, the fear of that robotic takeover is continually growing and now Google is working on a kill switch to prevent that.

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The kill switch would be to stop intelligent robots from turning on their human masters. Any technology geek would have read the numerous warnings from both tech pioneer Elon Musk and Professor Stephen Hawking of just that kind of Terminator-style eventuality as humanity continues to develop in robotics.

Kill switch

In fact, just last month, a pair of academics sketched out a terrifying vision of the future in which “super intelligent” machines declare war on humanity and set about wiping us off the planet.

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To that end, Google has published a paper outlining the work its British artificial intelligence (AI) Deep Mind team is doing to ensure humanity is safe from avenging or overzealous robots.

Deep Mind normally develops algorithms to allow robots to learn for themselves directly from raw experience or data, but the team is developing a way to stop AI from learning how to prevent humans from stopping an activity – for example, firing a nuke – a process called ‘safe interruptibility’.

Kill Switch

The researchers at Google write about safe interruptibility;

“Safe interruptibility can be useful to take control of a robot that is misbehaving and may lead to irreversible consequences, or to take it out of a delicate situation, or even to temporarily use it to achieve a task it did not learn to perform or would not necessarily receive rewards for this.”

It’s really everyone’s guess if Google’s move in creating this kill switch will be our saving grace in the future or if everyone is just giving into an overactive imagination on the future threat of robots, but one thing is for sure, it’ s certainly a more exciting world to live in and Google is making sure to be prepared for any and every eventuality.