Artificial Intelligence seems to be the biggest topic to hit the water cooler these days. However, the discussion on AI ranges from the Modern-Day-Industrial-Revolution type of technological advancement to End-of-the-World-and-Modern-Civilization-As-We-Know-It type of technological destruction.
Although polarized perspectives, there are a few key indisputable facts;
- AI is here.
- AI is causing cross industrial disruption.
- AI is not going away.
Leaving us with a few options;
AI: SHOULD WE RUN TOWARDS IT, FROM IT OR RUN IN PLACE?
Run Towards It
In terms of technological advancement and utility, it would make sense to hit the gas and drive at top speed towards AI. When evaluating AI in its current form, the technology has proven itself extremely beneficial and holds even more promise for the future. Recently, we have seen AI used to translate languages for businesses, make more accurate medical diagnoses in health care, improve personal safety with its implementation into our car's braking systems, increase vigilance with integration into our home's security cameras and thermostats, and even offer customized recommendations to us via music, movies and television shows that we love but may not have otherwise seen.
There is no question AI has already positively impacted our day to day lives and will continue to do so. Companies such as Microsoft, Google, Salesforce and Facebook are all making investments in AI with the promise of solving the planet's environmental challenges, giving computers vision via photographic memory, putting driverless cars on the street, predicting consumer behavior, and creating a safer, more open-minded cyber space.
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Run From It
Although we are reaping benefits in the short-term, the potential ethical repercussions AI brings makes us want to slam on the breaks, cut the wheel and jet in the other direction. It is not irrational to believe the evolution of this technology is threatening.
AI is able to essentially teach itself via Big Data and Machine Learning. On average, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are collected each day. This data is being processed, sorted and analyzed for patterns. Machine Learning is the application that makes predictions based on the Big Data analysis. Machine Learning predictions are then pushed to algorithms known as “Neural Networks” which are built to mimic human decision, which ultimately powers the AI's resulting actions.
With that being said, over time, Artificial Intelligence will get smarter, and smarter, eventually surpassing human intelligence.
This is a reality no human has ever faced (albeit in films).
It is also plausible that AI will develop emotive functions along with a sort of self-awareness that will inevitably pose a great amount of ethical and security dilemmas.
We’ve seen AI eliminate jobs, and it will most likely continue to do so due to AI’s speed, intelligence level, and overall productivity. The more jobs taken by machines, the more time we humans will have for self-development and leisure activities, right? Not exactly. We live in a competitive environment. Take that away and where will we stand? When AI reaches intelligence equal to or greater than ours the odds will forever be in the technology’s favor, ultimately increasing our economic inequality and decreasing our standard of living.
Economic Inequality aside, humans would not have to use their muscles as much (including the brain), leading to a loss of memory capacity and emotional intelligence. Finding ourselves in a world where we aren’t the most intelligent beings is scary enough but finding us in a world were machines will understand the emotions of our children, siblings and parents more accurately than we can beg the question: What is our influence on the world?
Run In Place
Just because we can see the brilliant benefits this technology can bring doesn’t mean we should just haphazardly implant microchips into our brains, cyborg-style.
At the same time, we should not uproot our families to off the grid locations and live on the land simply because we are aware of the potential harm AI holds.
We are all stakeholders in this AI Revolution.
Perhaps the best way to run is to run in place. Build endurance.
Prepare by way of educating ourselves, asking questions, challenging current thought and generating factual and rational discourse on what’s to come so that when it arrives, we brace for impact and adapt. We have moral responsibilities we cannot ignore in this evolution and must hold ourselves accountable for establishing the proper controls, regulations and institutions to keep AI safe.
We’ve done it before!
Lightbulbs, cars, computers and cell phones were all doubted inventions until humans adapted to a different way of life.
Adapting is something we humans do very well. In fact, it’s what gives us the upper hand in this reality.
Our ‘Norms’ will undoubtedly change and acceptance of the new norms is the key to progression. Just keep an open mind. At the end of the day, technology is just a tool. How we use it is what matters.
About the Author: Shannon Walsh, Yoh’s Marketing Coordinator, is a raconteur through and through. She’s rooted in New Jersey, educated in NYC, and working in Philadelphia. Powered by a passion for marketing, caffeine and punk rock music, Shannon’s knack for storytelling complimented by her creativity and 'Big Picture' mentality make her a marketing asset.