AI Dialogue between CEO of Cheetah Mobile and MIT professor Max Tegmark

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“This is the most important conversation of our time, and Tegmark’s thought-provoking book will help you join it.” As Stephen Hawking comments on the book Life 3.0: Being Human in the age of Artificial Intelligence, an AI masterpiece by MIT professor Max Tegmark, also the founder of the Future of Life Institute.

On September 19th, Professor Tegmark paid a visit to the headquarters of Cheetah Mobile, China’s second-largest internet security software provider. The Swedish scholar was greeted by a GreetBot, one of the company’s recent products, after his return from Pudong, Shanghai for the 2018 World Artificial Intelligence Conference, where he was dazzled by two of China’s most impressive innovations, digital payment and high-speed rails.

professor Tegmark greeted by Cheetah Mobile's Greetbot
professor Tegmark greeted by Cheetah Mobile’s Greetbot

As Fu Sheng, Chairman and CEO of Cheetah Mobile mentions, ”Six years ago, Cheetah Mobile was still an insignificant company. As I set foot on the lawn of Stanford, I began to contemplate on the differences between Chinese and American companies. I learn to ‘think big and think different’ on the American soil.” That’s when he decided that Cheetah Mobile should break away from its competitors and venture into the AI business. The company was inspired by Silicon Valley in terms of creating favorable environment for employees.

MIT professor Max Tegmark
MIT professor Max Tegmark

Fu Sheng was also able to read the Chinese version of Life 3.0, even before the book was published in China. In his book, Tegmark proposes the idea of three stages of life— biological evolution (Life 1.0), cultural evolution (Life 2.0), and technological evolution (Life 3.0). Life 3.0 refers to mankind being the master of its own destiny, free from evolutionary shackles. “After reading the book, I felt like a tiny spec of dust in the vast expanse of the universe. I believe the evolution of mankind is a process of decentralization. From a technological point of view, advanced life forms are possible in the foreseeable future, like Elon Musk’s idea of neural links (linking human brains with computers) .” Fu said.

Life 3.0 – Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
Life 3.0 – Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

The myth of human-robot interactions have been discussed for quite some time now. As one of the pioneers in this field, Cheetah Mobile launched five robot products in March, from the armless receptionist robot GreetBot to the automatic brista robot Cheetah Café. According to Fu, they have security engineers doing security reviews and examining in advance the possible scenarios that the robot could “go rogue”.

Cheetah Cafe made by robots
Cheetah Cafe made by robots

One can never be too cautious with the future of AI development. “There are several ways a robot might harm people. ”As Tegmark points out, “The first is malfunction, or if it is built to harm people like a weapon, or it gets hacked”. For future AI products, robot makers like Cheetah Mobile should always remember to put a button that can shut down the machine, making sure that the right people are in control.

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