“The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.”
— Stephen Hawking

“The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. Unless you have direct exposure to groups like Deepmind, you have no idea how fast—it is growing at a pace close to exponential. The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five-year timeframe. 10 years at most.” – Elon Musk

“Artificial intelligence will reach human levels by around 2029. Follow that out further to, say, 2045, we will have multiplied the intelligence, the human biological machine intelligence of our civilization a billion-fold.” — Ray Kurzweil

The AI project is an early stage effort to bring together experts from AI/Big Data, behavioral sciences, economics, engineering, business, political science, educational and charitable organizations to increase awareness & define strategies to optimize the wider impact of AI.

The coming AI/Big Data/Automation developments may change life and society as we know it faster and more deeply than the industrial revolution, the internet or anything mankind has ever experienced before.

It is crucially important to treat this not as a theoretical exercise or academic subject of investigation, but as a concrete development with widespread implications across all sections of society worldwide.

In order to maximize quality of life for mankind and minimize the risks to society, a concerted, coordinated effort by a large interdisciplinary group may become necessary.

Unintended effects of AI on society may begin to evidence themselves within 2 or 3 years as dislocations in the workforce due to Self-driving vehicles; AI/Big Data expert systems in law, accounting, medicine, education, finance, real-estate, travel, tourism and agriculture;  Robotics in mining, manufacturing, hospitality, agriculture, medicine, retail and logistics.

Possible indirect consequences.  As blue-collar, white collar and even professionals become displaced, questions arise concerning wealth distribution and human motivation.  Humans may increasingly withdraw into drug dependencies (e.g. opiates, anti-depressents, stimulants,  and  hallucinogens) or become dependent on VR-Gaming, AI-optimized Social Media and human-like Personal Assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant etc.

Longer term, mankind must face the possibility that AI could attain equivalent intelligence to humans and even beyond.  This is a major focus of the Center for the Governance of AI, housed at the Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford.

Time is of the essence.  Unless strategic measures are taken soon, current trends in politics, tech industry and economics may collide:
Who should purchase goods or services, if potentially up to 50% of all current jobs can be replaced by AI/Big Data/Automation in a relatively rapid fashion?
– If large swaths of western society begin to suffer, will the trend to blame immigration, China, other races etc. strengthen and spread to target Silicon Valley and the AI Industry?