What dread grasp, dare AI’s deadly terrors clasp?
“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.” — Statement on AI Risk, Center for AI Safety
“The cynic in me thinks these guys want regulation to lock out any new competition,” joked journalist Nellie Bowles for The Free Press on June 2, 2023. “But there is obviously something real in the fear.”
“AI is unlike virtual reality and unlike Bitcoin,” mused Bowles. “AI is going to be like electricity or the internet, changing the world in ways we can’t even imagine, coursing through every facet of our lives. But America can pass all the laws it wants; there’s no way countries like China and the United Arab Emirates will stop their progress on this.”
Bowles makes an excellent point. And it isn’t as if humankind hasn’t dealt with this particular issue of weaponized technology before — we have. We aren’t even a century into the nuclear age and nuclear power has already been used as a weapon of war: Twice.
The Manhattan Project was a top-secret research and development project undertaken during World War II, primarily by the United States, with the goal of developing the first atomic bombs.
The project was driven by the fear that Nazi Germany might develop atomic weapons. Manhattan Project scientists were determined to get there first. The research brought together many of the world’s leading researchers, including physicists, chemists, engineers, and mathematicians.
The efforts of the Manhattan Project resulted in the successful development and deployment of two atomic bombs. The first one, code-named “Little Boy,” was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The second bomb, code-named “Fat Man,” was dropped on the city of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. These bombings led to Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II.
The Manhattan Project was a significant milestone in the history of science and technology, marking the first large-scale effort to harness the power of nuclear reactions for destructive purposes. It also…