Should we fear the rise of A.I?
Although it is not a big part of our lives, most of us use artificial intelligence every day without realising it. Artificial intelligence can be something as small as Siri telling you the time, to something as mind-blowing as a robot having a conversation with you. As technology is advancing, there are new types of A.I being developed for specific things; there are even A.I in development that are beginning to walk. Sophia the robot, an Artificially Intelligent “robot”, can have full conversations with you as she learns human interactions through machine learning. This means that the A.I can actually “learn” things by itself without even being programmed to know it. Having a walking, learning A.I, however, brings up some very serious questions. There is, however, a very important one that needs to be addressed: should we fear them?
Throughout history A.I has been shown through media as mechanical men, but this is very different from the first A.I which was created in 1956 which was called the Logic Theorist. The field of Artificial Intelligence had not been around for long, so this was the first of its kind. Logic Theorist was written by Allen Newell, J.C. Shaw and Herbert A. Simon. It was able to prove thirty-eight out of the first fifty-two theorems in Principia Mathematica which is a three-volume work based on the foundation of mathematics. The term “Artificial Intelligence” was not picked up until summer of 1956 by John McCarthy who is said to be one of the founding fathers of A.I along with Marvin Minsky, Allen Newell, Arthur Samuel and Herbert A Simon.
There are many advantages of having A.I in our everyday lives. One example is that, for machines, there are no more boring jobs - A.I do not feel anything, so they cannot get bored. They are machines that have been programmed to carry out a set of instructions. They don’t need to rest after a long shift and they can keep going for the full day as they need no food, money or sleep. Very handy for businesses.
Another major advantage of A.I is that they can think and process information faster than us. They can prove or carry out any mathematical equation put in front of them with little to no effort. This could be very helpful for scientists or mathematicians who need to calculate an answer to a problem. Furthermore, the most promising aspect of A.I is the fact that they rarely make errors as everything has already been processed - every possible output of a situation has been thought out. This may appear to be a very useful tool to have at your disposal, it could also be the biggest downfall of A.I.
There are a lot more disadvantages than there are advantages to A.I in regards to the impact they would have on our human population. The first major disadvantage is obvious. Unemployment rates go up because an A.I has no need for sleep, food or money and they can work all day with no breaks, where as humans need to have all of these things. It would be much more beneficial to have an A.I than a human because of the advantages they have over us. As a result, people would probably be out of a job and unemployment levels would rise. There is very little a human can do that an A.I cannot, which would make finding a job an extremely difficult task.
Another of the major disadvantages may seem at first glance an advantage: the fact that they rarely make errors. Surely that would be a good thing? Back in 1996, an A.I called Deep Blue managed to beat the world champion (at the time) Gary Kasparov 3½ - 2½ at a game of chess and became the first computer to beat a world champion under normal game conditions. This is scary when one considers the implications of this - if a person who has been playing chess for nineteen years was beaten by a machine that had been in development for eleven years, what does that mean for us humans? Since then, an A.I named AlphaGo managed to beat the champion of a very complex game called Go. A professional Go player named Lee Sedol played against AlphaGo in a five-match game, Lee won one match and the A.I won four, despite his loss, Lee claimed that the match was a defeat for him and not for mankind. Lee also stated that although his loss to a machine was inevitable, the machine would never understand the beauty of the game the same way humans do. Does that really, however, make much of a difference in a world where being the “best” is rated so highly?
One final disadvantage would be the severe rise in physical and mental health problems. If you were out of a job because of A.I you would not get as much human contact and this could have a serious effect on your health. According to numerous studies that have been carried out, a poor social life can interfere with mental functioning, sleep and well-being which can increase the risk of illness and death. If you didn’t have a job, you would also be sitting doing nothing more often which could lead to you becoming overweight or obese. This can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and a lot more serious health problems. This is a very serious issue considering how many jobs could be replaced by A.I and how many people could be affected because of this.
Thus, with all this being said, should we fear A.I? Definitely - but just not yet. A.I has a long way to go before it becomes a major part of the workplace. They just aren’t advanced enough but there is a very high chance of them being around in the near future: they offer too much to a company to be ignored.