Earlier today, AlphaGo, an artificial intelligence software developed by Google DeepMind, won the fifth and final game of Go against human world champion Lee Sedol. The computer’s 4-1 victory in a week-long series of five games marks a major milestone for artificial intelligence: While computers have been capable of beating human world class chess players for many years now, the game of Go had been notoriously difficult for machines to master in the past.
While some people will undoubtedly be excited about science’s victory over human skill, others are fearful of what artificial intelligence might be capable of in the future. A recent survey commissioned by the British Science Association
once again showed that the public’s view of artificial intelligence is by no means unequivocally positive. In fact, the attributes mistrustful, skeptical and anxious were among the most cited when 2,019 Britons were asked how they feel about AI. 36 percent of the respondents even believe that intelligent machines pose a threat to the long-term survival of humanity – a view that may at least in part be influenced by Hollywood’s popular theme of robots turning on humans.