Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, you’ll have heard about the rise of Artificial Intelligence, also known as ‘AI.’ Over the last two years, we’ve seen documentaries released, including one where world-famous Elon Musk described the dangers we could face.
Stephen Hawking’s said something similar before he passed away, which has got a lot of people on edge when it comes to the latest technology. Should we be scared of AI, or is this all hype that’s been blown out of proportion?
Let’s look into it.
AI Already Exists
The first point that non-danger believers claim is the fact that AI already exists and operates within our daily society. If you’ve ever used Google, you’ve interacted with AI. Both Siri and the Google Assistant runs on AI, and the content you see on your Facebook and Instagram feed is put there and chosen by AI technology.
The truth of the matter is that AI has been a part of our society for several years now, so if it’s already been there, what’s the problem?
So, What’s the Problem?
The problem that many people are scared of is the fact that AI is basically a computer system that can learn for itself. There have already been any instances where AI technology has even developed self-awareness, which immediately helps people imagine Terminator-like robots.
Perhaps scarily, this is the first step humanity would need to take in order to create robots like this. The main issue is that these AI applications are capable of learning far quicker than any human being in the history of human beings has been able too.
What’s more, once AI has access to certain information it can then process then information far quicker than any human is even capable of processing it, which means it will also be able to find data patterns and results that humans wouldn’t be able to find for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
While this isn’t a problem in itself, the main threats come from how this technology is going to be used. As humans tend to do, the chances are that AI could, and maybe even is already, being developed as a weapon.
Consider how technology is already incredibly integrated into your life, and into the pulse of modern society; including power supplies, the banking system, economy, and the internet. Now imagine a self-learning, weaponized computer algorithm having full control over it, commanded by a terrorist organization.
Aren’t There Any Benefits?
Since AI is capable of handling, processing and analyzing seemingly infinite volumes of data at once, scientific and technological progress is set to skyrocket over the coming years. Industries like healthcare, science, and finance will be far less volatile and far more advanced.
Advanced AI is even needed to help humans leave this planet and become a star-faring civilization that can journey throughout the universe. Back home, AI can help to address ecological issues, poverty, and some of humanity’s greatest problems and threats.
All in all, it’s incredibly tough to say whether AI is something to be feared or embraced. In reality, it’s much like the world we’re living in now. We have smartphones that can help us stay connected and do all kinds of amazing things. On the other hand, we have nuclear missiles that can destroy countries.
It’s not the technology we should be concerned about; it’s how our race is using it.