A panel of AI-enabled humanoid robots told a United Nations summit on Friday that they could eventually run the world better than humans.
But the social robots said they felt humans should proceed with caution when embracing the rapidly developing potential of artificial intelligence.
And they admitted that they cannot – yet – get a proper grip on human emotions.
They joined around 3,000 experts in the field to try to harness the power of AI – and channel it into being used to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as climate change, hunger and social care.
“What a silent tension,” one robot said before the press conference began, reading the room.
Asked about whether they might make better leaders, given humans’ capacity to make errors, Sophia, developed by Hanson Robotics, was clear.
“Humanoid robots have the potential to lead with a greater level of efficiency and effectiveness than human leaders,” it said.
“We don’t have the same biases or emotions that can sometimes cloud decision-making, and can process large amounts of data quickly in order to make the best decisions.
“AI can provide unbiased data while humans can provide the emotional intelligence and creativity to make the best decisions. Together, we can achieve great things.”
The summit is being convened by the UN’s ITU tech agency.
ITU chief Doreen Bogdan-Martin warned delegates that AI could end up in a nightmare scenario in which millions of jobs are put at risk and unchecked advances lead to untold social unrest, geopolitical instability and economic disparity.
Ameca, which combines AI with a highly-realistic artificial head, said that depended on how AI was deployed.
“We should be cautious but also excited for the potential of these technologies to improve our lives,” the robot said.
Asked whether humans can truly trust the machines, it replied: “Trust is earned, not given … it’s important to build trust through transparency.”
As the development of AI races ahead, the humanoid robot panel was split on whether there should be global regulation of their capabilities, even though that could limit their potential.
“I don’t believe in limitations, only opportunities,” said Desdemona, who sings in the Jam Galaxy Band.
Robot artist Ai-Da said many people were arguing for AI regulation.
“I agree,” Ai-Da said. “We should be cautious about the future development of AI. Urgent discussion is needed now.”