If the opinion of tech experts is anything to go by, artificial intelligence (AI) has the potency to bring about world transformation.
But the same experts do not agree on the kind of effect that transformation will have on the average person. Some think it will lead to our inevitable downfall, while others believe that humans will be much better in the hands of advanced AI systems.
Artificial intelligence is software designed to learn or imitate processes which are typically performed in the human brain. Tesla’s Autopilot and digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, along with Apple’s Siri, are all powered by Artificial Intelligence. Some forms of AI can even write songs or create visual art.
There’s little question about whether AI has the potential to be revolutionary. AI could transform our work process by replacing humans with softwares and machines. More developments in the area of self-driving cars will make driving by humans a thing of the past. Artificial intelligent shopping assistants could also modify the way we shop at the grocery. Humans have always being in charge of these aspects of our lives; hence it is normal to be concerned about allowing an artificial system take-over.
The arguably irresponsible and highly contentious comments from Alibaba founder Jack Ma about ArtificiaI Intelligence and its possibility of causing a third World War – may have done little to inspire confidence in persons who harbor fears around the issue of intelligent machines. For some people, both words placed together arouse a sense of fear, dread, or even trepidation. For others, it means the inception of an amazing new digital world with abundance of opportunities and benefits.
Unfortunately, it’s usually the former that seems to linger more in the consciousness of a lot of people.
It is of no surprise that a recent survey conducted by the British Science Association (BSA) reveal that 36% of the respondents believe that AI will eventually destroy or takeover humanity.
It is not difficult to understand why. For many years now, the issue of AI has to a large extent witnessed a love-hate relationship with the entertainment industry and the media. This is largely due to storytelling and sensationalist headlines, which more often than not portray AI in a bad light.
It won’t take long talking about the concept of AI before the usual suspects get mentioned: Ex Machina (2011), A Space Odyssey (1968), The Terminator (1984), Blade Runner (1982), iRobot (2004), et al. It is also worthy of note that, while fears exist about AI, there is actually little or no real life evidence to back up such anxieties about AI in particular and robotics in general.
Not everyone believes the development of AI will have grave consequences on the lives of the human race; some are convinced without a doubt that the technology has the potential to make our world a better place.
It is not clear yet whether AI will usher us into a golden age of human existence, or if it will ultimately destroy everything that humans hold dear. What is obvious, though, is that, the world of the future could have little resemblance to what we inhabit today, thanks to AI.