AI is destined to over-power us, but only if we allow it
When people think of artificial intelligence, it’s easy to picture a Hollywood-guided idea of a futuristic world in which technology has taken over daily aspects of human life, perhaps to the extent of wiping out the human race. But, this isn’t the goal of AI, and to be honest, it’s not the future reality of it either.
We should strive for a world in which we allow artificial intelligence to empower us; enhance our capabilities beyond what we believe to be possible and enable us to solve ‘unsolvable” problems. Just a decade ago, the technology being developed today was a mere pipe dream, and history has shown that when we use it wisely, we can accomplish incredible things. Currently, AI has been showcased with voice control systems like the commonly used Amazon Alexa and Siri, games in which it outmaneuvered human counterparts, robotics, self-driving cars, recommendation systems, healthcare operations, and much more.
To progress even further, it’s critical not to let the potential “risks” of artificial intelligence and technology create an obstacle in our path to do so.
We can’t fear intelligent machines; we need to work with them and create a shared set of values and goals. If we allow it to, artificial intelligence could have an incredible impact on how we approach real-world problems. That being said, to truly benefit society, AI must be implemented responsibly and that consists of respecting human values and expectations, such as privacy. Instead of waiting for the consequences of creating AI that discards the need for humans, it’s critical to be proactive and engineer certain parameters for safety. Once those parameters are created, AI must understand, internalize, and implement our shared goals and values.
And finally, we need to consider what the final destination is; how far we want AI to go, and what sacrifices would be made to achieve that. Obviously, if we create superintelligent machines without a set framework it could open up to a dystopian future none of us want; unprecedented inequality, constant surveillance, dictatorship, and possible human extinction.
However, when done right, with the use of ‘friendly AI’, we could put an end to the issues that plague humanity; climate change, disease, poverty, and so much more. The reality is if we don’t expand the capabilities of technology beyond what they are today, the chance of human extinction is high. With intelligent machines, our possibilities for humanity would be able to expand past our linear intelligence; there would be a nearly unlimited amount of opportunities.
Still with great power, comes great responsibility. With the introduction of AI, our application of ethics becomes more important than ever. While machines are smart, they operate based on information they are fed: information that can be biased. Machines do have the potential to make errors; they cannot have unchecked power.
There should be accountability, increased transparency, scrutiny, and investigation of algorithms. While algorithms can be used to help us make better decisions and provide the framework for our lifestyle, we cannot vanquish our moral responsibility and human judgment entirely.
Also, with the potential replacement of humans as a result of enhanced machine intelligence, there’s a high potential for an Industrial Revolution 2.0, also referred to as the Machine Learning Revolution. Many professions will soon become totally automated but with the rise of AI, new industries, jobs, and ways of life will arise.
However, to ensure a smoother transition into this unprecedented future, we should be preparing people for the industries and job market of tomorrow. Unlike innovations before, the growth of machine learning is exponential and doesn’t have a cutoff, so our understanding of what is possible will change. This is something that we, as a society, need to begin preparing ourselves for, by adjusting economic, social, and political structures.
We shouldn’t view AI as something we need to compete against, because humans can’t perform at the same level as machines; it is simply not possible. We need to see it as our advancement into the future and the driving force behind our progress as a society. If we can manage to implement intelligent machines properly and efficiently while applying a framework of shared goals and values, the possibilities are endless.
Technological progress can do so much good in the world; it can remove the difficulty in our challenges, meaning that in order to advance, we must find even more complex challenges. Instead of fearing these potentially intelligent machines today, we should worry about what they are lacking; smart machines will pave the way for a future full of our most magnificent dreams. Our failure will only be defined by our acceptance of the way things are and a lack of ambition for advancement.