the robots are coming

Google Swears It’s Not Going to Use A.I. Firm DeepMinds for Evil

Though it could make for a sequel to that weird Haley Joel Osment movie.

What if this became your new mom? (Getty)

As long as Google sticks to the ethics code, this WON’T become your new mom. (Getty)

Google’s recent acquisition of artificial intelligence firm DeepMind didn’t just come at a price of $400 million; the company also had to formally promise to use DeepMind’s technology for good, and not evil.

According to The Information, two people familiar with the deal said that Google had to agree to create an artificial intelligence ethics board to ensure it won’t abuse DeepMind’s technology.

Does that sound a little terrifyingly ominous to anyone? You wouldn’t make someone agree not to abuse your products if all they comprised were Roombas and talking thermostats. The mandatory ethics code makes us think that DeepMind’s technology has some pretty serious potential implications. We don’t want to throw the phrase “robot apocalypse” around lightly, but there could be a robot apocalypse.

Though this lame-o website makes it pretty unclear what, exactly, DeepMinds does, it certainly sounds like the company is capable of producing some pretty serious artificial intelligence technology. One of its cofounders is neuroscientist and child chess prodigy Demis Hassabis, and the company reportedly has received more than $50 million in funding from some pretty reputable investors.

“With great power comes great responsibility,” a character in every superhero movie once said. Let’s hope Google doesn’t screw things up.

Follow Jordyn Taylor on Twitter or via RSS. jtaylor@observer.com