Via twitter and the Guardian, I arrive at this today.
For those who want not to sully their browing history, Will.i.am, a former popstar, but now Chief Creative Officer of a 3D printing company called 3D Systems, has suggested that:
“Eventually 3D printing will print people,” said Will.i.am. “I’m not saying I agree with it, I’m just saying what’s fact based on plausible growth in technology.”
“Unfortunately that is the reality, but at the same time it pushes humanity to have to adhere to new responsibilities,” he said. “So new morals, new laws and new codes are going to have to be implemented. Humans – as great as we are – are pretty irresponsible. Ask the planet. Ask the environment.”
I’m just saying what’s fact based on plausible growth in technology.
So, here’s a quick primer: we can already 3D print human forms. We’ve been doing it for years with modelling clay, stone, metal, you name it. Even if you used a 3D printer to print a human form with a high level of exactness, all you will wind up with is a statue.
It does not matter how far 3D printing technology improves in Will.i.am’s lifetime, the fact remains that 3D printing on its own will print at most a highly detailed statue. What Will.i.am should be concerned about, if he’s getting worried about stuff on the moral plain is artificial intelligence. And that debate is already happening. Will.i.am is looking at the wrong technology in terms of ethical concerns. Unfortunately, someone in De Zeen and someone else in the Guardian gave him the platform to come across as being completely dumb about this.
Artificial intelligence does not need a human avatar to cause problems (assuming it gets to the point that it can). And while I don’t necessarily agree with Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk’s concerns at present, the point is, building a statue is of zero concern. Building a creative thinking machine on the other hand is a bit more concerning from ethical points of view. But if you ask any AI specialist, they will tell you we’re a good way away from that right now too.
In the meantime, I have to wonder how someone who makes comments like the above gets a job. If I can possibly help it, I will never have any dealing with the company that hired Will.i.am in a high profile role that allows him to mouth off like this.