People like famed physicist Stephen Hawking and Tesla's Elon Musk have issued dark warnings of a world where computers become so sophisticated, so quickly, that humanity loses control of them—and its own destiny as a result.
Yet Peter Norvig, a leading artificial intelligence scientist and a director of research at Google, thinks that's far-fetched. "I don't buy into the killer robot [theory]," he told CNBC this week.
The real worry is how to prepare for the mass elimination of jobs that is surely coming, he said.
"I certainly see that there will be disruptions in employment … we've already seen a lot of change, that's going to continue," Norvig said in an interview, before a lecture on machine learning at the Stevens Institute of Technology.
By now there's wide consensus on this matter, the question is really just scale — whether the impact of machine learning is minimal or whether it consumes half of all jobs over the next decade.
"The pace may be so fast that it [will] cause disruptions," Norvig said. "So we need to find ways to mitigate that."