‘Stupidity’ is a bigger threat than AI, says CEO of Italian defense giant Leonardo

Roberto Cingolani, CEO of Leonardo SpA, during an interview in London, United Kingdom, on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.

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The chief executive of Italian defense group Leonardo said on Friday he was more concerned about the “stupidity” of artificial intelligence users than the threats posed by the technology itself.

His comments come amid repeated warnings about the dangers of artificial intelligence, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently calling on international political and business leaders to prioritize a global strategy to tackle the technology.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 17, Guterres said the rapid development of artificial intelligence could lead to “serious unintended consequences”.

“To be honest, what concerns me the most is the lack of control by humans, who are still waging wars after 2,000 years,” Roberto Cingolani, CEO of Leonardo, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Friday .

“With that in mind, AI is a tool. It is a human-made algorithm, run by human-made computers, controlling human-made machines. I’m more afraid, more worried [about] national stupidity rather than artificial intelligence to be honest,” he added.

“I have a scientific background, so I definitely see technology as neutral. The problem is the user, not the technology itself.”

Proponents of artificial intelligence say the technology can be harnessed to benefit humanity in a number of ways, including fast-tracking patient diagnoses, helping to model climate change and fighting cyber-attacks.

However, the International Monetary Fund told a report published on January 14 that nearly 40% of jobs worldwide could be affected by the rise of artificial intelligence.

The Washington-based foundation also warned that the potential impact of technology on the global labor market is likely to worsen overall inequality in most cases.

Cingolani said defense companies such as Leonardo must make a “big effort” to introduce a “massive digitization” of their platforms, including the provision of autonomous systems and services powered by AI.

“It’s a complete paradigm shift. It really is a different technological approach to defense and security. It’s a big technological challenge,” he added.

Shares of Leonardo rose more than 4% as of 08:48 am. London time on Friday. The Milan-listed company’s stock has risen more than 37% year-on-year.

Read the original at Defence247.gr

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