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Tony Blair warns we must ‘prepare’ for artificial intelligence

It seems that everyone has an opinion on artificial intelligence these days, including the UK’s former prime minister.

Tony Blair has warned that we’re not yet ready for what he calls “another industrial revolution”.

Writing in the Spectator, the politician – best known for his leading role in the UK’s 2003 invasion of Iraq – outed his concerns over coming technological changes, like the advent of artificial intelligence.

The pace of change is not slowing; it is accelerating,” explains Blair.

The former PM continues: “The next generation of technological advance – big data, possibly in time AI – will be akin to yet another industrial revolution except that this time it will affect the service sector too.”

Blair says we’re “in danger of not asking the right questions”, and argued for making “more radical” decisions in future governance.

“We have to understand it and prepare for it. Infrastructure, housing, social exclusion – all these challenges require more modernising and less ideological thinking,” he writes, in an article titled ‘In defence of Blairism’.

The Labour politician isn’t the first to warn about humanity’s lack of preparation for artificial intelligence.

A number of prominent technologists have spoken out about development in the sector, including Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, and Elon Musk.

The latter even donated $10 million to the Future of Life Institute, a company that hopes to “mitigate existential risks facing humanity”, such as aggressive AI.

Related: 9 predictions from a professional tech futurist

Musk also signed an open letter that called for a ban on “offensive autonomous weapons”, warning against a “third revolution in warfare”.

Blair’s concerns, however, may not sit too well with his critics – many see the former PM as a warmonger thanks to his aggressive military record in the Middle East.

Do you think we’ve done enough to prepare for artificial intelligence? Let us know in the comments.

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