Is Artificial Intelligence a danger to humanity?

Published on 8 August 2021 at 00:00

AI machines are autonomous entities that are capable of making decisions and taking action just like humans.


It is projected that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will disrupt all areas of life as we know it. With intelligent machines enabling high-level cognitive processes like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem-solving, and making decisions, along with advancements in data collection and aggregation, analytics, and computer processing power, artificial intelligence has the potential to complement and supplement human intelligence.


However, some leading scientists and thinkers have warned about 'technological singularity'. Technological singularity refers to the belief that ordinary humans will someday be overtaken by artificially intelligent machines or cognitively enhanced biological intelligence, or both.


Exactly what is artificial intelligence?

It is a technology that uses a great deal of information from a specific domain to make a decision in service of a specific goal.


AI technology, for example, can be used to analyze loan repayment histories (information) of individuals to determine whether or not to approve loans (decision) so as to maximize profits for lenders (goal).


In 2016, Google's artificial intelligence (AI) programme "AlphaGo" defeated legend Lee Se-dol in Go - a game of Chinese board that has long been considered the ultimate unsolved problem for artificial intelligence.
Although artificial intelligence offers many benefits, it also poses a threat to humanity due to its potential dangers.  

Is Artificial Intelligence a threat?

Artificial intelligence machines, like humans, are capable of making decisions and taking action. Artificial intelligence technologies cannot be compared to other machines due to their greater degree of independence.


Artificial intelligence is an attempt to reproduce super intelligent humans. By artificially magnifying one aspect of human intelligence, the machine is able to do things better than humans in many ways.


A substantial amount of memory, calculation power, decision-making capacity, and speed of action is associated with AI. So, these machines become super-beings, and a society filled with many super-beings can be disastrous. Artificial intelligence reflects the desire for immortality and the lack of human weaknesses.


A major drawback of artificial intelligence has been that it has not been used to combat poverty, but rather to create a more equitable distribution of wealth or make people happier with what they have. As a result, they will primarily be driven by profit for the companies that produce them.

Contrarian view: Artificial Intelligence itself doesn't threaten us

  • Humans who use such technology are the real threat, not the technology itself. In other words, guns do not kill, people do. 
  • Technology can be as useful as it can be dangerous.
  • As long as the technology remains under our control, we can literally turn it off at any time.
  • Human beings have always feared new technology, from paper to the telegraph, from steam engines to computers. Yet, history shows that people have always embraced technology eventually, to make their lives better, easier.


With AI taking centre stage in telemedicine and quick diagnosis, healthcare and medicine become more affordable and accessible. Water and energy networks become more accessible when artificial intelligence mediates the use of different sources.


Artificial Intelligence: A threat to employment and economic inequality?

The AI revolution, unlike the Industrial Revolution and the Computer Revolution, is not displacing certain jobs (artisans, staff, typewriter-using assistants) for other jobs (customer service representatives, assembly-line workers).


As a result, wide-scale job losses are in store, most of them lower-paying jobs, but there will also be some higher ones. The AI industry, as well as companies that adopt AI, will benefit greatly from this transformation.


As an example, consider what a car-aggregator could make if they modified their operations to use robotics as their drivers.


As a result, the world faces two trends incoherent from each other: an enormous wealth concentrated in a few hands and an unemployed population in the billions.

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