Compute this

Did you see where Elon Musk says the thing that may spark World War III is artificial intelligence?
He bases this on published reports that Vladimir Putin said, “Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind … Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”
All well and good. But first we’re going to have to work out some bugs.
Now, I realize computers that talk have come a long way since this old joke on the topic, but I figured it’s a good time to share it before we hand them the nuclear weapons codes.
The joke goes like this:
A guy invents a computer that can talk with humans. He teaches it to do odd jobs and sends it out in the neighborhood looking for opportunities to make a buck.
The computer rings the doorbell at a nearby home and when someone comes to the door the computer says in its electronic voice, “I am a computer. I can do odd jobs. Is there something I can do for you?”
“As a matter of fact, you can,” the homeowner answers. “Can you paint my porch?”
“Of course I can,” the computer says. And with that, the homeowner hands it a can of green paint.
In a matter of minutes, the computer rings the doorbell again.
“The job is complete,” the computer says. “But it’s not a Porsche. It’s a BMW.”
So, yeah. I can see artificial intelligence starting a world war.
Just the way real intelligence has.
(Note: if you are reading this, my computer didn’t see it first. And delete it.)

Ed Ackerman