Is AI the future we’re really looking forward to?
The word ‘AI’ is very familiar to most of us in the 21st century. I’m sure, you might have heard about how Artificial intelligence can be a massive revolution, alas with the risk of posing some genuine concerns. However development, there is no denying that over the past decades, we’ve seen technology evolve exponentially.
If we look at human history in a brief sense, absolutely nothing happened for thousands of years. Where progress was stagnant and we were just flatlining. But around 1800 the graph went from the dull horizontal to blooming vertical. This sudden change was a result of two major events. The first was the invention of steam power and the second was the discovery of electricity. These two industrial revolutions made some drastic contributions that changed the course of human history, so much so, that they let us overcome the physical limitations of our bodies. In that very regard, AI is aiming to artificially model the human mind in machines, in such a way that it can defy the limitations of our brains. Like every radical journey, it will be tough yet progressive.
All AI you’ve seen so far is Narrow AI, except maybe in the movies(they are General AI). Narrow AI is when a system exhibits human-like intelligence and traits on a specific task or field, which has been doing tasks such as facial recognition, natural language processing, or internet searches. Experts in the field are working towards creating artificial general intelligence, where systems can handle any task that intelligent humans could perform, and most likely beat us at each of them.
Elon Musk wrote: “The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. Unless you have direct exposure to groups like Deepmind, you have no idea how fast — it is growing at a pace close to exponential. The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five-year timeframe. 10 years at most.”
Notable individuals such as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk suggest AI could be a potent threat. Bill Gates also believes in handling AI cautiously, as it can reap benefits if managed properly. There are plenty of AI applications that make our daily run-of-the-mill lives more convenient and efficient. It’s the applications that play a critical role in ensuring safety that everyone is concerned about proclaiming their hesitation about the technology.
Let’s determine what dangers artificial intelligence poses:
- Autonomous Weapons can be programmed to kill, which is one way AI can pose risks. It might even be plausible to expect that the nuclear arms race will be replaced with a global autonomous weapons race. It has been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms. Most AI researchers have no interest in building AI weapons — and do not want others to tarnish their field by doing so, potentially creating a backlash against AI that curtails its future societal benefits.
- AI brings to the table is the ability to gather, analyze, and combine vast quantities of data from different sources. Social actors that regularly utilize these techniques are now in the position to identify, profile, and directly affect our lives without consent. The potential impact of AI on privacy is immense, which is why it is imperative to raise awareness about these issues.
- Self-driving cars are not completely safe — at least not yet. While self-driving cars are probably the future mode of transport, today’s roads and pedestrian rules are not meant for autonomous traffic. It will take a lot of time and investment to make roads safer and compliant for self-driving cars to commute. AI still needs a lot of computing power and processing time to come up with the right decision and make immediate responses. A single bug in the algorithm could make the AI go for a complete toss, putting the car into a rampant metal beast.
- The fingerprint biometrics fading away to face recognition. But we have seen hackers attempting to break into this technology by building fake faces using simple and cheap methods such as masks and silicon to replicate the face and skin. If this technology is not made robust enough, we could soon see a dystopian future where privacy and security could be at stake.
These are just some of the complications regarding AI in general epistemology and scientific value. Having said that, there’s a brighter and possible future that Musk agrees could be materialized. So far, we’re heading in the right direction, as AI today is improving human lives in various applications, expanding branches in technology, healthcare, defense, and business. The latter possibility sees artificial intelligence as an opening to the doors for humankind to become a race of space-exploring species. So, for all that has been said and done, is AI still what you are looking forward to?