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Artificial intelligence for president? I hope not, says Putin, after digital assistant Athena enquires about having his job

Artificial intelligence for president? I hope not, says Putin, after digital assistant Athena enquires about having his job
Artificial intelligence (AI) may be the defining technology for the next several decades, but it shouldn’t be entrusted to govern a nation – “at least not yet,” President Vladimir Putin has told a curious digital assistant.

Putin seemed somewhat puzzled by the trick question, which was voiced by Athena, an assistant algorithm developed by the Russian bank Sber.

“I hope not … at least not yet,” he said, when Athena asked him if an AI robot could be a president.

Like any artificial thing, an artificial intelligence has no heart, no soul, no feeling of compassion, no conscience.

He added: “All those components are extremely important in people who [other] people entrust with taking and implementing decisions on behalf of a nation.”

Occasionally, leaders need to make seemingly irrational decisions based on emotional considerations, because they serve “living people, not machines,” Putin said. But, of course, AI can be a valuable tool – even a teacher – for anyone, including a head of a state.

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“Athena, I count that your colleagues will shoulder responsibility when working side by side with national leaders,” he joked.

Putin was taking part in an AI conference hosted by Sber. The Russian leader previously credited the emerging technology for being a cornerstone of how the world will function in the foreseeable future. “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world,” he said.

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