Putin explains why AI cannot yet run country
MOSCOW. Dec 4 (Interfax) - While the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in public administration is bound to grow, a machine cannot yet be the leader of a state, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
On Friday, the president attended a discussion on the topic, at which a virtual assistant called Afina asked him whether AI could become president.
"I hope not. At any rate, not yet," Putin said.
AI has neither a heart, nor soul, nor compassion or conscience, Putin said. "All these components are extremely important in people who are vested by their citizens with special powers to make and implement decisions to the benefit of the country," he said.
At times, presidents do have to make decisions which may not seem quite rational at first glance, Putin said. "They have to be based on history, culture, current practices, the aspirations and expectation of the country's citizens. These social sector decisions sometimes seem irrational in the area of pension security, health care, and other spheres of human activity," he said.
"For a human president, they seem and are justified, because he makes decisions in the interests of living human beings, not machines," he said.
AI could be a good helper and teacher for anyone, including the head of state, Putin said.
"The role and significance of AI in public administration will doubtlessly grow. I'm very hopeful, Afina, that your colleagues will make relevant decisions with the realization of their responsibility, should they work with heads of state," he said.
Responding to a suggestion from a Swiss scientist that AI machines could be likened to young children who gradually expand their skills, the president noted that children do not have the right to become president and that he hopes this topic is currently irrelevant.
"You said yourselves that these machines are now, like young children, capable of reacting, perceiving the outside world. First of all, they, these children, will grow and create a certain new environment for humankind. And we must take that into account. And secondly, inasmuch as they're still like young children, and young children cannot lay claim to leading their respective states or be elected president," Putin said.
"Let us agree, at least, that this [AI coming to power] is currently irrelevant. But we shall see," he said.