Google assistant does it all from mundane tasks such as controlling your house lights to buying movie tickets. The AI is so capable it can be scary. There’s an artist who had something a little more sinister in mind. What if Google Assistant could shoot you right in the face?

Alexander Reben recently taught Assistant to fire a gun. Fortunately, the victim was an apple, not a person. The 30-second video, simply titled “Google Shoots,” shows Reben saying “OK Google, activate gun.” A second later, an alarm sounds, the gun fires, and Assistant replies “Sure, turning on the gun.”

On the surface, the footage is underwhelming — nothing shocking is really happening. But think about it, and it’s obvious this project is meant to provoke a conversation on the boundaries of what AI should or should not be allowed to do. It brings the plots of sci fi movies like Terminator to mind. We begin to think of humanity’s death at the hands of machines we created.

In this example, Reben was the one who told Assistant to “activate gun.” He is still the person responsible for the action. But in a world where machine learning has led to AI that’s smart enough to anticipate our needs and provide comfort every day, it’s not hard to imagine a day when digital assistants kill people that upset us if given access to weapons. Who is responsible for the deaths then?

It’s easy enough to say that we should block AI access to weapons. But they are already in our in our cars, in the military and in other places we probably haven’t even thought about. We can demand companies make sure that their tech cannot cause harm, but it’s simply impossible to plan for every possible way that AI might go rogue.

“Part of the message for me includes the unintended consequences of technology and the futility of considering every use case”

Google assistant wasn’t made to fire weapons, but all it took was parts of things lying around to make it happen.

 

Akhil was raised by movies, television, and the internet. A never-ending source of absolutely useless information. He would tell you more, but he was distracted by something shiny

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