There is clear momentum behind the concept of AI safety. When the non-profit Future of Life Institute released an open letter on AI safety in January, a great many people who have no professional involvement with AI signed on. But it wasn't an entirely amateur-hour affair. The signatories included computer scientists, roboticists, and legal experts. One of the latter was Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington who specializes in robotics. For Calo, the near-term risks associated with AI have nothing to do with intelligence, but rather with autonomy. "I'm worried that there could be some unanticipated, emergent phenomenon," says Calo. "For instance, maybe it'll turn out that lots and lots of people were denied a loan offer or a credit card offer, and it's because an algorithm found that they were surfing on a predominantly African-American social network. And no one involved in that will have been purposely racist, but it'll be a huge scandal."