Yunus warns of survival threat from Artificial Intelligence

Last Updated: Fri, Jun 29, 2018 12:23 hrs
Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus

Bengaluru: Expressing apprehension that disruptive technology would hasten extinction of humankind, Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus on Thursday warned companies against excessive use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

"Technology will expedite our extinction on planet Earth. It may sound funny because technology is supposed to help us and make things easier. But the way AI is invading the world, it will soon replace us with machines to do our job," Yunus said at the eighth edition of Social Business Day here.

The Bangladeshi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his effort to fight poverty. Yunus founded Grameen Bank which gives microcredit to the poor without any collateral.

Organised by the Yunus Centre, a Dhaka, Bangaldesh-based think tank founded by Yunus himself, the event had participants from 42 countries including Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Italy, France, Taiwan and the US, among others.

As human beings can be replaced with machines, thereby saving money, more machines are being made in the world, leading to widespread use of AI, Yunus pointed.

"With the production cost using machines going down and profit margin going up, more machines are being made."

In the process of adopting AI, several people will be pushed out of the jobs they hold, Yunus warned.

"We already have nearly 30-40 per cent of the youth remaining unemployed in several prosperous economies. And with the AI, people who are employed won't have their jobs as smart machines are taking over," the Nobel laureate said.

Technology, while being a blessing also has the potential to leave a human being at the mercy of others, creating a whole community of "beggars", Yunus lamented.

"Human beings are capable of creating weapons of mass destruction in a smart way. We are capable of killing ourselves in a very decent way. That is the direction technology can go," stressed the 78-year-old social entrepreneur.

Countries taking pride in their "fast-growing" economies must beware of concentration of wealth in their nations, Yunus said.

"We take pride that our economies are growing faster than anyone else's but we forget that the faster we grow, the faster is the rate of wealth concentration and we soon approach the doomsday," he added.

The two-day event which began on Thursday was held on the Infosys campus at the Electronics City in the southern outskirts of the city.



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