Starting with HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey, artificial intelligence (AI) has been exciting and terrifying people for years. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is a long way off, but how does the AI we have today impact the world? Should we be afraid of it?
AI can be harmful or helpful, depending on how it’s used
AI is a tool, and just like any other tool, it can be used for good or for evil. If you’re driving a car and your brakes fail, that’s not a sign that cars are bad. It’s just a sign that the brakes failed in this instance.
But AI can also play an important role in helping us make decisions with limited information (which we often have). For example, if an AI system notices that someone has stopped breathing and hits the call button on their phone—that could save the person’s life!
Most people aren’t concerned with ethics, they just want to get things done
That’s the conclusion that most of us have come to in recent years. It was a bit of a surprise when it was revealed that Facebook had been influencing the moods and emotions of its users through its ad targeting system. And even more shocking when it was discovered that Google would be using AI to write restaurant reviews for TripAdvisor—with no mention whatsoever of who wrote these reviews!
However, these are examples of companies making decisions without thinking through the ethical implications. In many cases, they’re not trying to be evil; they’re just trying to make money as fast as possible so that investors keep trusting them with their money (and so that employees keep working for them). The problem is that if we let this continue unchecked, then eventually something really bad could happen—like another financial crisis.
We should be aware of the problems and biases in AI systems
As humans, we are responsible for the creation of AI. Therefore, we must acknowledge that we have a responsibility to ensure its use is ethical and responsible. In order to do so, we need to be aware of the problems and biases inherent in AI systems so that we can create safeguards against unintended consequences.
It’s important for us all—not just scientists—to understand how these technologies work so that when they inevitably go wrong or produce undesired effects, there are people who know what went wrong and how to fix it. The tech sector needs more diversity so that other perspectives can be incorporated into this new technology; this will help prevent blind spots from occurring in our future creations and allow them to serve humanity better than they currently do today (or even worse).