21 Sep'17

Meet Nigel – the robot that ‘tries to figure out your goals’


A company based in Portland are developing an AI technology (called Nigel) that will provide advice for every aspect of your life. BBC reports.


The creator of Nigel, Mounir Shita, says the AI robot ‘tries to figure out your goals and what reality looks like to you and is constantly assimilating paths to the future to reach your goals.’


Future plans for Nigel is for it to ‘be able to assist you in political discussions and elections’.


BBC posed the question why would we ‘listen to a robot’?


Shita responds to this stating ‘you will have to trust Nigel – and it will be more in tune with your emotions than a political leader’.


To expel the issue of political conspiracy, there ‘is no one Nigel.’ ‘Nigel’s purpose it to adapt to your view’.


This statement is subsequently undermined when Shita says Nigel ‘might push you to change your views if things don’t add up in the Nigel algorithm’.


Interestingly, in all of BBC’s quotes from Shita, he refers to Nigel as ‘it’, which accurately reflects Nigel being an object. However, when Shita discusses how Nigel may persuade you to abandon your political views, he refers to the robot as ‘he’.


BBC refers to the technology industry being sceptical of  Nigel.


Ian Goldin, professor of globalisation and development at the University of Oxford, informs BBC, ‘I think the threats posed by technology are rising as rapidly as the benefits and one hopes that somewhere, in some secret place, people are worrying about it.’


Well, people are worrying about it, and not in some secret place. Stephen Hawkins has openly expressed his concern about AI technology. In an article in the Independent, Hawkings is quoted saying ‘Alongside the benefits, AI will also bring dangers, like powerful autonomous weapons, or new ways for the few to oppress the many. It will bring great disruption to our economy.’


At the US National Governors Association meeting in July of this year, Elon Musk stated, ‘AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation.’ Seeing as this is a quote from The Guardian, which is accessible to all online, again the worry about AI is not being discussed in a secret