Written by: Manasa Kalaimalai
The field of Artificial Intelligence is vast and rapidly progressing as we move towards a
more technologically-dependent world. A truncated definition of AI would be the automation of processes via machines being able to perform tasks that were once undertaken by humans.
As this movement towards an AI-revolving world is almost imminent and inevitable, it is
pertinent that we ask ourselves this question: Will humans fully embrace the concept of AI? Will our consciousness be able to accept the fact that many of our daily tasks will be handed over to a machine? The adoption and future AI depends on our answers to these questions.
There are surely two sides to this argument: those who see the endless possibilities for
technological advancement with the help of AI and those who feel that AI will be the end of the
People concerned with the future of AI being risky see two ways that the technology could
1. The first scenario is when the AI is programmed to do something devastating. This includes the production of autonomous weapons, such as armed quadcopters and cruise missiles, which are AI systems designed to kill. The creation of weapons such as these could lead to an AI arms race and cause unprecedented mass casualties.
2. The second scenario is when AI is programmed to do something beneficial, but finds a destructive method for achieving its goal. This can happen when we fail to fully align our
goals with the AI system. This misalignment causes the AI to achieve the goals as
efficiently as it possibly can, while neglecting the method through which it achieves the
said goal, which can cause harm and mayhem.
Seeing very realistic scenarios as the ones above for the future of AI validates the worry
instilled in the minds of people. The issue stems from a fear that our technology could evolve to a point beyond human control, hence prioritising a human-centric approach at the forefront of AI development.
Yet, the safety of mankind is not the only main worry eating at the minds of researchers and
professors from all around the world. As the implementation of AI systems progress in the future, the need for human labour will dramatically decrease. This makes it much easier to see why millions of workers harbour a fear that AI might replace a chunk of the workforce. Ultimately, a technology that makes humans feel worthless will certainly not have high adoption rates. Every displacement of humans with machines will cause pain, and surely result in protest and revolution.
If we weigh these concerns with the glistening opportunities that AI holds for us however,
the argument becomes much less controversial. When discussing the impact of AI development on jobs, what most doomsdayers and naysayers neglect to mention is this: innovation in AI opens up new worlds of possibility, leading to entirely new economies that businesses and workers can transition to. Forbes Magazine estimates that artificial intelligence is set to generate about 58 million jobs by 2022.
Not to mention, AI powers an innumerable amount of real-world applications and has the
potential to become more significant than the internet itself. For instance, healthcare has always been one of the main focal points of AI. AI tools can help predict substantial challenges lying ahead in advance and offer proactive intervention, hence helping patients to maintain their well-being. In the field of transportation, the development of autonomous vehicles using AI will feature automated braking, use of sensors for collision avoidance, and automatic vehicle guidance to name a few. In terms of the environment, smart homes can be made capable of providing better security and reducing energy usage that would greatly promote the concept of a greener environment.
Clearly, AI has very promising prospects in the future that may or may not outweigh the
unknown yet realistic concerns towards personal safety. The future of AI surely promises much
technological advancement but at the cost of a revolution between AI and mankind itself. Now it is time to ask yourself: Is it worth it?