Awful Prospects for Artificial Intelligence
The development of artificial intelligence has attracted both academics and scientists for decades.
Intelligent technologies help and simplify our lives today, but in the next fifty or one hundred years, we might see even more potent AI that could advance or perhaps eradicate our species.
What effects will the development of artificial intelligence have on humanity in the future if we do manage to build sophisticated, super-intelligent machines? The last 20 years have seen a steady rise in interest in AI throughout the world. Billions of dollars are being invested in AI-focused initiatives and research organizations by universities, governmental organizations, and rich individuals.
Early in the 2020s, nearly every industry already employs intelligent, context-sensitive computers, sometimes known as narrow or weak AI. Narrow AIs collaborate with people in industries to produce goods.
Virtual nurses evaluate patient data and keep an eye on vital signs in hospitals. In reality, data gathered by artificially intelligent software is essential to entire businesses, like digital marketing. The demand for better, quicker technology across so many industries is fueling an increase in narrow AI production.
Intelligent robots are now a part of our lives on computers and smartphones, but they only use a small portion of what narrow AI is capable of.
Leaders in the field expect that production and diversity of narrow AI will rise significantly over the next 20 years, enhancing society’s productivity and communication.
Others worry that people will become overly dependent on computers, while some scientists are enthusiastic about the future role of narrow AI as stepping-stones toward a more advanced human society. For instance, the development of narrow AI may change how people work around the world. At least 50% of routine, quantitative jobs may be carried out by narrow AI by 2040, and that percentage may even reach 90%.
Thousands of robots are already taking the place of human workers at large corporations.
Many businesses may cut their human staff to just 10% of its current size as narrow AI gets more popular and less expensive.
These projections portend a gloomy future for humanity, but the development of narrow AI also presents a rare chance. A global re-education of the workforce may result from the loss of monotonous, uncreative jobs.
Average workers might be promoted to higher-paying, more important positions and relieved of responsibility for mundane manufacturing or construction tasks.
A greater need for engineers, programmers, and repairmen will accompany a higher machine density. Workers will become more and more skilled at maintaining robots, writing software, and conversing in the coded language of artificial systems.
A stronger global economy may develop over time as a result of the workforce’s expansion and the increased demand for skilled labor. This would raise wages, lower the rate of poverty, and increase access to higher education for all people.
By closing the gaps between socioeconomic classes, the development of narrow AI could theoretically correct unfair political and economic systems. However, there is no assurance that the development of powerful AI will be for the greater good. As readily as it may stabilize our global economy, the development of artificial intelligence could radicalize pre-existing hierarchies by serving the needs of the extremely wealthy. The connection between people and technology will change as limited AI develops and encroaches more and more on fundamental human rights. Digital privacy is already a contentious topic in many countries. For instance, social media algorithms gather, retain, and exchange personal data, enabling computers to create elaborate profiles and forecast your needs, wants, and interests with startling accuracy.
The complexity of our devices might advance in the ensuing decades, but so might invasions of our privacy and other fundamental rights. It goes without saying that narrow AIs have a significant impact on our society, yet these domain-specific computers are nothing compared to strong AI, also known as Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). An AGI is able to generalize the information it acquires to tackle a number of issues in a range of situations, as opposed to narrow or weak AI, which are limited to a certain set of tasks. AGI development is still a topic of extensive and primarily speculative research.
Nobody has ever produced a system that is as intelligent as a human being, despite the fact that humans have made some incredibly intelligent machines, such as IBM’s Watson, which can learn and understand language.
However, some experts in the field do anticipate a significant scientific advance as soon as 2050. We must think carefully about the moral implications of creating computers that are as intelligent as humans before mankind ventures into the uncharted territory of strong AI.
Scholars have identified actual risks associated with the development of powerful AI, beyond the fantasy dystopias shown in the media.
Theoretically, the human intellect could expand and be surpassed by a machine with general intelligence. That same machine might eventually develop self-awareness, albeit there is considerable debate among experts over whether computers will ever develop this capacity. If possible, a sentient machine might be able to perform better than people in every field, rendering us obsolete in the presence of our own invention. However, with the right safeguards, AGI might usher in a period of transcendent growth for both our civilization and our species.
But how could we program extremely intelligent, perhaps sentient, machines to defend human interests? The author Isaac Asimov’s 1942 novel The Three Laws of Robotics serves as a fictional framework for this complex problem. Strong AI developers should prioritize cooperation between humans and robots over strength or intellect. Human safety must come first in an AGI’s programming, above all other considerations like knowledge acquisition and self-preservation.
Even an AGI that is friendly to humans cannot ensure a positive, long-term interaction between people and machines. The development of strong AI could limit human agency, autonomy, and competence in a manner similar to the overproduction of narrow AI. We risk losing our creativity, motivation, and sense of purpose if we rely solely on robots to solve our issues.
Humans risk giving up the goals that make our species unique if we allow ourselves to become complacent in a paradise run by machines. A single innovation in the developing field of artificial intelligence has the potential to have a significant impact on our civilization. In the near future, intelligent machines will permeate every sector and family in the world, for better or worse. Machines could ultimately bring about humanity’s extinction as they develop into strong AIs, but they could also greatly enhance our social structures and quality of life. In either case, humans are inexorably advancing toward a future dominated by intelligent robots, but one important question still needs to be answered: is the danger worthwhile?