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Microsoft’s CEO lays out his 10 Laws of AI

Image: Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella lays out his vision for ethical AI research. (Credit: Microsoft)

Taking a page from Isaac Asimov’s famous Three Laws of Robotics, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has drawn up six “musts” for the revolution in artificial intelligence that he sees coming, plus four musts for the humans living in the AI age.

Nadella’s deep dive into the philosophical underpinnings of AI research comes as Microsoft is turning its attention toward AI tools with a vigor reminiscent of billionaire co-founder Bill Gates’ pivot to the internet in the mid-1990s. In his own essay, published today online on Slate, Nadella refers not only to Asimov’s laws, but also to Gates’ 1995 “Internet Tidal Wave” memo.

The essay also comes amid a debate over whether AI could pose a “Terminator”-level threat to humanity’s long-term future. Just this week, for example, British physicist Stephen Hawking warned about the rise of an “AI arms race” in autonomous weapons. Over the past month, the White House has been conducting a nation-spanning series of workshops focusing on the promise and potential peril of intelligent machines.

Nadella says humans and machines could work together to address society’s greatest scourges, including disease, ignorance and poverty.

“Doing so, however, requires a bold and ambition approach that goes beyond anything that can be achieved through incremental improvements to current technology,” he writes. “Now is the time for greater coordination and collaboration on AI.”

Get the list of laws on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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