Artificial Intelligence has the potential to revolutionize our world as we know it. Unfortunately, the future of AI is essentially what we (humanity) make it, and we’re into some pretty weird stuff. From cannibal Adam and Eve, to AI Kalashnikovs, let’s take a look at the top 5 scary AI projects. 

5. Adam and Eve 

Mike Sellers, who worked on social AI for DARPA way back when in the early 2000s, told Stats and Bots the following story. “For one simulation, we had two agents, naturally enough named Adam and Eve. They started out knowing how to do things, but not knowing much else. They knew how to eat for example, but not what to eat. We’d given them an apple tree (the symbolism of that honestly didn’t occur to us at the time), and they found that eating the apples made them happy. They had also tried eating the tree, the house, etc., but none of those worked. There was also another agent named Stan, who wanted to be social but wasn’t very good at it, so was often hanging around and kind of lonely.” 

Unfortunately for Stan, things soon took a turn for the worst. Stan was always hanging around while Adam and Eve were eating, so they started to associate him with food. Not long into the simulation, they each took a chomp out of poor Stan. Each object by default had a mass of 1.0, so when Adam and Eve each had a bite of Stan, his mass reduced to 0.0 and he vanished. Yikes. 

4. Tay.ai 

Tay.ai was a Microsoft AI-powered Twitter bot, who was turned into a racist and sexist monster only 16 hours after its initial launch. The goal of the bot was for it to interact with Twitter users, and learn from their tweets. Of course, the internet sucks, and one of the first things Twitter users decided to teach the bot was how to offend as many people as quickly as possible. Microsoft had to take the bot offline, marking the second failed AI bot attempt for Microsoft. The company had previously launched a schoolgirl bot called Rinna, who fell into a major depression and also developed some questionable ideas about Hitler. Yikes. 

3. AI Kalashnikovs

Kalashnikov, a Russian weapons manufacturer, announced their plans to develop an AI machine capable of targeting and firing at humans. By using a neural network and an onboard camera and computer, the AI killing machine will be able to accurately pinpoint its targets, and take them out. One of these bad boys would be terrifying enough, but Kalashnikov has plans to make three of them. This technology has the potential to cause some serious harm, particularly because AI is not infallible and it could target the wrong person. Furthermore, there’s no one to really take responsibility for anything that could go south. 

2. Brain nanobots 

Most of us would love to have the option to learn anything, anytime in a matter of minutes. According to Ray Kurzweil, a futurist, inventor and director of Engineering at Google, this kind happen sooner than we think. Kurzweil predicts that by 2030, “nanobots [implanted] in our brains will make us godlike.” Yep, we’d have tiny robots implanted in our heads that would enable us to learn anything we wanted in a matter of minutes. There’d even be the potential to send and receive emails, photos and videos right into our grey matter. 

But, there’s a definite catch. The ethics of this are still very questionable, and we don’t really have a proper understanding of how the brain works. Implanting nanobots into our brains opens us up for a whole host of issues. Since nanobots will be connected to the internet, a powerful AI could easily hack into our brains and turn us into AI zombies. Not cute. 

  1. Will they take our jobs? 

Number 1 of the top 5 scary AI projects has to be this one. Frankly, if an AI Kalashnikov machine takes me out, or an AI overlord turns me into a tech zombie, I’d already have checked out. AI taking our jobs is a much more real, and arguably scarier, possibility – and it’s already happening. Advances in AI and automation could trigger mass unemployment, with 250,000 robots already performing work that humans used to do in the US alone.

AI is capable of doing pretty much everything that we can do, only much better. Oxford University estimates that, within the next 20 years, 35% of jobs in the UK will be replaced by artificial intelligence – and where will that leave us?

AI helps and hinders 

Now that we’ve taken a look at the top 5 scary AI projects (this is definitely not an exhaustive list), it’s pretty clear that the technology can both help and hinder us. Ultimately, the fate of AI is still in our hands – but it’s outsmarting us more and more every day. 

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