The idea of artificial intelligence (AI) has been discussed and debated for years. However, with the lack of technology advancements in the past, AI has become just that, a concept without any tangible proof. Entering the “Digital Age”, technology advancements are no longer lacking. As tech giants like Apple, Amazon, and Google are consistently investing in AI research and implementation, the presence of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, proves that AI is no longer just a concept, but a real one.
Those virtual personal assistants have made our lives easier, from getting directions without asking strangers to calling people without dialing. However, it is important to keep in mind that AI also comes with numerous risks and downsides. Equipped with intelligence, we have to wonder, would one day such technology outsmart humans? Would it be able to be controlled by humans and not the other way around? One instance that may already answer the question is when Facebook shuts down its AI robots after they start talking to each other using their own language.
On a simpler level, AI has the ability to be autonomous, that may change the entire workforce of numerous industries. AI machines and robots can replace humans doing jobs, which may result in reduced cost for the company, but higher unemployment rate in society. A research conducted by PwC found that 30% jobs in the UK, 38% in the US, 35% in Germany and 21% in Japan are in danger of being replaced by automation. This may lead to global unemployment crisis.
Some may say AI can only replace jobs which have repetitive elements, such as manufacturing and basic assembly. However, the reality suggest otherwise. In annual conference of ISBA’s, British advertising trader body, the first AI creative director was introduced. The AI competed with a human creative director to produce a commercial. The 200 advertising executives present at the event chose the AI’s commercial. This may be the reason why Coca Cola wants to use AI bots to create its ads.
However, it is important to note that there are still certain sectors, which need a “human touch”, such as healthcare. Doctors and nurses are still hard to automate, since AI has yet to be able to form “human connection” with patients and other hospital personnel. The incapability of AI to form “connections” with humans and the lack of human values may be used by certain people to facilitate doing horrible acts, such as war using autonomous robots and weapons. That is perhaps why Elon Musk, co-chairman of OpenAI, a non-profit AI research company, along with 116 AI experts, have urged the United Nations to ban AI in weapons. (Los Angeles Times, 2017)
Yes, like other technological advancements, AI has the potential to be beneficial for us, but also possesses a greater threat and danger. Therefore, it is important to make sure that AI advancements do not eclipse human intelligence, so both AI and humans could coexist and be beneficial to each other.