Intelligence Agency (IA) director Sir Richard Dearlove has announced that his agency is developing an intelligent machine, capable of using its knowledge and expertise to help us navigate the world.
Sir Richard said the project was “the closest thing we have to a robot with the capability of learning from experience and applying that to our everyday lives.”
“This project is an early stage and the project will not be complete before 2020, but we are in a great place with this project and its outcomes,” he said in a statement.
“The aim of this project is to help British citizens and businesses become smarter and more connected and we hope this will help to improve the quality of life in the UK.”
The robot will be able to learn from the best of what humans can learn from, and make predictions based on its experiences, Sir Richard said.
It will be capable of predicting weather, weather forecasts, traffic patterns, and more.
Sir Richard also said that it would not only be able “to solve complex problems” but also “think outside the box”.
“In order to do that, we will need to harness the vast amount of intelligence and knowledge we have amassed over the last several decades,” he added.
The agency has been working on its own intelligent robots since 2015, but it is only now that they have been developed and deployed, which has led to some criticism from privacy advocates and others who say it could be used to spy on individuals and even their loved ones.
“There is concern about how the technology will be used,” Privacy International’s Head of Policy, David Davies, told The Huffington, adding that he expected the agency would not be able provide “meaningful answers” to the questions it raises about the use of the technology.
“It is going to have a profound impact on the way we think about how we use technology and how it should be used, whether that is to protect people, whether it is for surveillance purposes,” he told The Verge.
“In the end, we need to ask: is it really worth the cost?
It is also worth asking whether the benefits outweigh the costs.”
It is also unclear if the project is in fact a partnership between IAI and the UK government, or if it is merely a development by the agency to try to develop an AI that can solve a range of complex problems for the British public.