Artificial intelligence has made its mark in the 21st century and there are very few sectors where we can work without the help of AI. From asking Alexa to turn off the AC to using Google Maps to reach an unknown café – artificial intelligence has changed our lives for the better. Or has it really? Whether artificial intelligence is a blessing or a curse has been a topic of debate for years now.
What is Artificial intelligence? AI is the blend of machine learning, natural language processing and cognitive computing.
The aim of developing Artificial Intelligence was to use human intelligence to train artificial machines using sophisticated machine learning and natural language processing algorithms.
Humans are smart, no doubt about that. But the problem with us is scalability. As humans, we have a limit beyond which we cannot perform. This is where AI comes in and bridges the gap of human shortcomings.
With the advent of AI into our lives, we have contemplated about AI dethroning humanity to take control of the world. We have also been given a sneak peek into what could happen when machines took over us.
Science fiction movies like “The Terminator” have shown us the apocalyptic future that awaits us. To sum it up, Artificial Intelligence is like the horns of the dilemma. Without it, life is going to be tiresome and difficult. With it, our lives and the fate of the entire world can face a fatal threat.
So, why is Artificial Intelligence indispensable in today’s fast-paced world (Pros)?
Artificial intelligence is intertwined with our very lives today. Can you imagine your life without your Android Smartphone? Or your laptop? As days pass, we become more and more dependent on the gifts that Artificial Intelligence has to offer us.
Wondering why is AI a boon to the humankind? Let us go through why AI cannot be ditched altogether!
- Error Reduction
With AI being introduced in sectors like healthcare and banking, we can be assured of the accuracy of the results. Can you imagine the risk of making errors in health issues? Can you imagine the repercussion if an ailing patient is given the wrong treatment?
AI eradicates all the chances of making mistakes and leaves no room for errors. The activities carried out by the tools of AI are done with great precision. Artificial Intelligence is being implemented in search operations, as well as in aiding doctors in complex medical procedures to remove the risk of human error.
- Eases out difficult tasks
There are several tasks that are beyond the ambit of what we, vulnerable humans can do. But with artificial intelligence to our rescue, we can employ the science of robotics and get those tasks done without fail.
AI can be deployed to tackle dangerous jobs like welding which can have harmful consequences on humans.
The toxic substances and the intense heat cannot affect machines, thus saving human lives. Dangerous jobs like fuel exploration or ocean life exploration can also be undertaken by AI-driven machines, thus erasing the barrier of human limitation.
- Safety and Security
With the computed methods of AI, all our daily activities have been made safe and secure. It is for this purpose that financial institutions and banking institutions are incorporating AI to organize and manage data.
AI is being used to detect fraudulent actions through a smart card based system. Even in corporate houses and offices, records are being tracked down by biometric systems. This way the information is safe and there is a complete track of it.
- Increase Work Efficiency
Since machines need no breaks and are programmed to work for long hours, productivity undoubtedly increases. Unlike humans, who need to take a break to feel more rejuvenated, machines can work at a stretch.
Since AI-powered machines are designed to perform a particular task, they have better efficiency. With no room for errors (unlike the tasks that are done by the human) the productivity is doubled and the results are accurate.
Having said that, we must also mark how several experiments led to the adverse reaction of AI-powered applications when the tables turn. AI-powered bots can turn hostile when subjected to severe situations and can attack other robots as well as humans in order to survive.
Scientists like the deceased Stephen Hawking have long warned about the risks of AI and how it poses a threat to other life forms. Although designed by humans, according to several AI researchers, AI has the potential to outsmart us and dethrone us from our ruling position.
The reason why we humans control the planet over all other living beings on this earth is that we are the most intelligent creature amongst all. Despite being weaker than the wild animals, we rule the planet with the help of our wit.
But should a dystopian situation come, is Artificial Intelligence really capable of dethroning us?
How can AI pose a threat to Humanity?
Before I answer this, let me first remind you that the inventor of AI is a human being. So, the fault is not in the technology, but in us. If you recall the story of sci-fi films like Terminator or Transformers, what do you find common in them?
The fact that in both the stories, humans were the ones to program technology according to their own musings is proof of the fact that we are at fault. You see, it is not the guns that kill, but it is the person behind the trigger who takes a life. Quite similarly, the reins of technology rest in the hands of humans.
It is therefore entirely upon us as to how we want to use it. If we are smart about it, we will be able to use AI to our advantage. Like every other thing in this world, technology too has its challenges. But it is under our control and the power to pull the plug is with us.
The Negative Effects of Artificial Intelligence on Society (Cons)
Let us now discuss in more detail some Cons of AI in society:
The worry of robots replacing humans on assembly lines and at other basic manufacturing tasks is as concerning as theorists have been saying for years, but it’s made worse by the revelation that traditionally white collar jobs could also be in jeopardy.
Theoretically, more production at less labor could hypothetically benefit everyone, but dwindling jobs could force modern societies to reckon with their existing systems of economy and forms of governance.
The state of modern social media platforms has increased polarization and the spread of false information throughout the world, but the threat of deepfakes could dilute public knowledge and breed even greater public distrust.
Artificial intelligence systems have become increasingly capable of creating or modifying videos of real people, and these technologies are increasingly accessible to the average person.
3) Data-Based AI Bias
The concept of GIGO — or garbage in, garbage out — is one practically as old as computing, but it’s also one that we haven’t been able to overcome simply because it’s an existential rather than technological issue.
Feeding erroneous data into a machine is only going to produce erroneous results, and that allows racial, ethnic, gender, or other forms of bias into the computing process. What a form of reasonable data audit looks like for artificial intelligence executed on a global scale is hard to imagine.
Why can AI be harmful to our existence?
As we all know, AI is an independent technology that has a separate entity, quite like human beings, and are therefore capable of making their own decisions and can act accordingly.
Since AI is an attempt to reproduce the intelligence of humans without the emotional aspect, AI-driven robots can be very dangerous. Since artificial intelligence is a collaboration of human intelligence and the dexterity/power of the machine, these machines are more efficient than the humans and have the capability to overthrow us and emerge as superbeings of the future.
Lacking the emotions and vulnerability of humans, these AI-driven robots are programmed using the calculative capacity of our brains, thus making them purely intelligent creatures that are devoid of the sensitivity.
With a superlative memory, better calculative power and a decision-making capacity that cannot be clouded by matters of the heart – these machines hold the power of dominating us as superbeings.
Without the vulnerability and the risk of decay, AI machines can wreak havoc due to the absence of human weaknesses. Plus, to think that such intelligent machines will continue to be at our beck and call will be a stupid and naïve mistake on our part.
With intelligence ranging way more than ours, devoid of the human idiosyncrasies, AI can become our dictators and destroy our very race the day they learn to thwart our manipulations.
In addition to this, the sector in which AI is implemented is also a matter of concern. While AI is mostly used for the benefit of humankind, several technologically advanced countries are incorporating artificial intelligence into warfare machines which are allowing them to dictate over other countries.
The Four Types of Artificial Intelligence
Intelligence is a hard concept to really quantify in its own right — but the fact that A.I. is inherently artificial means that there’s no singular way to approach its structure.
But the current consensus among academics and engineers involved in artificial intelligence is that there are four different types of artificial intelligence.
They can vary widely in terms of complexity and effectiveness, and some still have yet to extend beyond the realm of the hypothetical thanks to insufficiently developed technologies. But each of them tells their own story about what artificial intelligence really represents.
- Reactive AI: The earliest form of artificial intelligence is also understandably the most primitive. Reactive AI is reliable insofar as it responds in exactly the same way to every situation and possesses no concept of temporal memory. One of the best examples is IBM’s chess-playing Deep Blue algorithm. Its methodology for each move was to essentially sort through a complex set of pre-programmed possibilities at every stage of the game. That makes reactive AI unable to learn new information unless it’s programmed by a human or a more sophisticated AI. That said, these AI are prevalent through our lives and handle everything from the results on our news feeds to which emails make it into our inbox.
- Limited Memory AI: The most advanced form of AI that we’ve reliably seen in action is limited memory AI. And while it builds off the same core principles as reactive AI, the addition of even a primitive system of memory dramatically enhances the experience. A ubiquitous form of limited AI are virtual assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. Though they don’t retain memories for long, their memory is deep enough to adjust their behaviors based off of gathered data. This helps with everything from better predicting the search responses you want to better recognizing your voice. Existing Limited memory AI is at its most sophisticated in the form of automated vehicles, which have to constantly be adjusting to multiple sets of data with life or death consequences.
- Theory of Mind: Theory of mind still exists mostly in the realm of the hypothetical, and that’s because it’s predicated on being able to conceive sentience. While it couldn’t itself be self-aware, a theory of mind virtual assistant could be capable of making decisions by reading anger or happiness and adjusting their response accordingly — or a chatbot could conceivably engage in deep and extended social interaction with a customer in a way indistinguishable from a human representative.
- Self-Aware AI: Sentience would be achieved with self-aware AI, and it’s hard to know how artificial intelligence could develop from there. A sentient artificial intelligence wouldn’t merely be able to conceive of a sense of self, but they’d have the means to develop their own. The idea of self-awareness is so far away and so advanced that it still remains a deeply philosophical question.
Artificial Intelligence in Everyday Life (Examples)
- Online tools to map your routes have come a long way since the time when people needed to print out Mapquest directions, but platforms like Google Maps and Waze are becoming more intelligent more quickly thanks to the vast amount of data they can now process and the increasingly effective and efficient algorithms they use to process that data. Everything from historic traffic patterns to user-submitted data on accidents to weather conditions have a part to play in navigation apps, and AI is key to that. Other AI-driven algorithms like those employed by ride share apps employ similar apps to matchup drivers with customers and determine their
- Banking systems employ artificial intelligence to make it easier for customers to leverage their increasingly digitized funds, but it can also run the risk of hurting already marginalized people. Banking apps allow us to zap money instantly in the world, and artificial intelligence helps verify and maintain those transactions and automatically detect potential instances of fraud. But potential bias or discrepancies in the complex algorithms that weigh and evaluate a credit score could have dangerous consequences.
- Online media sources can range from a social media platform like Facebook to an entertainment streaming platform like Hulu to the BBC news site — and their methods of operation can vary from advertising dollars to paid subscriptions. But no matter what the circumstances, the main goal is the same — to keep users’ eyes locked onto their content for as long as possible. Artificial intelligence plays a major role in this. Who shows up in your social media feed, what advertisements you see, and what shows Netflix recommends are all predicated on algorithms learning about your behaviors and experiences.
Computer Languages for Artificial Intelligence
Getting computers to understand you first means creating languages that allow engineers to communicate with them. While there’s enormous diversity in terms of the programming languages active today, there are a few that are especially well suited to developing artificial intelligence.
- Python is also a popular choice for data science, making it a sensible choice for artificial intelligence. The simplicity of the syntax means it’s easy to pick up and reduces the risk of a miscommunication between the engineer and the machine. That’s especially important considering that mistakes can quickly compound and go unnoticed when working with an AI. In addition, Python possesses a huge amount of libraries and is widely adopted and supported by a large community.
- Lisp: As a language created specifically with the needs of AI in mind, Lisp had some obvious advantages out of the gate. Mandatory garbage collection is a huge asset, as it greatly reduces the risk of erroneous data ruining an algorithm’s results unnoticed. It also has a decently sized library that weighs heavy with both ML and AI applications.
- Java is the world’s most ubiquitous programming language, and that easily has a part to play in its popularity in the world of AI. But many of the features that make it well-suited to other fields benefit AI development as well. It scales incredibly well — a definite asset considering the value of large data sets in most AI use cases — and there’s a huge community of engineers that are comfortable working with it and a deep wealth of resources in the form of both documentation and libraries.
When AI was introduced, did we know what we were signing up for? A world where humans created machines to kill fellow human beings is the last thing we want.
When we debate among ourselves and discuss if AI is a boon or a bane, it is the intelligence and the greed of humans that should answer the question. At the end of the day, human beings are in control, paving the path for destruction at the hands of intelligent machines.
Kefaya Hassan is a school teacher by profession, but she is also part time essay writer at Allessaywriter.com. Kefaya has a PhD in Sociology and loves to spend time with her pet.