The Future Of AI: Benefit Or Hazard?

It is inevitable for the saying “Knowledge is power” to come into the fray of AI when how often the saying is misinterpreted as if purely having knowledge means an automatic claim to power. It’s more intellectually responsible for us to glean how its significance lies more so with the implementation of power. Today AI holds the potential to stir up debates between hopeful optimists and concerned cynics who equally recognize that if it is mismanaged, then it can be consequential to the progression of the human race in utilizing this revolutionary, yet equally dangerous technological phenomenon.

In a 2015 TEDx event, Director of Information technology Andre Leblanc spoke highly about the benefits of AI and how it can revolutionize the medical field. The realm of AI is a virtual world, where the most complex of simulations can be performed as a means of finding the best possible outcome for treating multiple diseases, especially when further integrated with the use of nanotechnology. Leblanc went on to present an example wherein any simulation, an AI could very much perform a multitude of repetitive tests through a virtual body and adaptively learn and surpass the technological developments it was designed to perform originally as a means of eventually finding a cure to the medical problem, which makes an AI very human in a sense. Now, human beings are unique and highly intelligent creatures, but even they have biases, which can be reflected in their AI’s design and the dispassion demonstrated in their ability to misidentify certain scenarios.

In discussing the dangers of AI, it’s important to ask ourselves “How far we want to go?” This question was posed in a 2017 TEDx event by Peter Hass, the Associate Director of the Brown University Humanity-Centered Robotics Initiative. When speaking about his own work in robotics, Hass elaborated on how the critical element within a malfunctioning AI is our own intellectual laziness. He further postulated potential examples of how AI could one day be integrated into systems that determine whether citizens get loans, Medicaid, job interviews, or even a proper medical diagnosis at the same capacity that the compass criminal sentencing algorithm is used in thirteen states to determine violent offenders based on racial biases. The saddest point mentioned in his presentation was that rarely are these AI algorithms ever checked and even denied evaluation just because of the model efficiency they provide judges who determine the sentencing of criminals deemed violent offenders by the system.

Leblanc and Hass make valid points on the positives and negatives of where AI can go, and how the development process is something to be skeptical about. However, it is arguable that the benefits certainly outweigh the negatives, but only if the technological development is managed well, which shows that at the end of the day, it’s up to us to usher in the future we strive for before we become obsolete to our own creation. If you wish to know more, here are links to the TED speeches:

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