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Vint Cerf: Buggy Software Is Scarier Than A Robot Takeover

Computer scientist , ... ]

Computer scientist , ... ] // Shaiith/Shutterstock.com

Robots won’t take over humans, but buggy software might, according to the Google exec known as the “father of the Internet.”

Asked for his thoughts on the risk of a robotic overthrow, Google’s chief internet evangelist, Vint Cerf, said he doesn’t fear that problem -- especially because artificial intelligence technology isn’t that sophisticated.

However, flawed software could pose a real threat to humans, he said.

“People mix up artificial intelligence and robots,” Cerf said, explaining that Google’s search uses some of the building blocks of artificial intelligence to parse sentences and to search for specific terms.

“I’m actually not as worried about artificial intelligence and robots as I am software and robots,” he said during an event Monday at the Italian embassy. “If there are bugs in the software and some device is operating autonomously with regard to that software, the bugs can cause bad things to happen.”

Cerf quipped that he avoids the massage chairs at Google’s office “because I know it’s running software and I’m sure It’s going to fold up ... when I’m in it.”

People aren’t careful enough about updating their software -- especially when such software is increasingly running heating and ventilation, among other functions -- and also making sure the software they’re updating doesn’t include malware.

“The big headline I worry about is, ‘100,000 Refrigerators Attack Bank of America,'” he said.

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