There is nowhere to hide today from Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), which will either be central to us solving some of the gravest challenges humans ever faced over the past century or add to them by triggering one of the biggest intellectual and existential fears in history. That’s because never before has a technology been developed solely on the basis of intelligence gathering and disseminating. If the cliche that knowledge is power bodes true, we better fasten our seatbelts for a roller coaster ride that gives us as much control as an amusement park ride–very little to none! The idea of empowering AI with more data and information–power and capability–is unprecedented for any other single entity in history. However, this article is not about the precautions needed for AI to be friend or foe, it is about the possibilities that it can manifest if developed responsibly!

It is easy to envision AI systems competing against each other, since competition is embedded in the nature of the world, so there is no reason to believe that “machine learning” will be immune to such behaviours. In fact, where AI will be most promising is challenging accepted norms in a more “intelligent” manner. Even our most experienced and trained professionals and scientists have biases by virtue of their daily interactions with other humans and situations that are not necessarily linked to their areas of expertise. For example, a scientist may be influenced by scenes witnessed at a sports event or in a movie and unconsciously use those experiences to make a moral or ethical decision in his or her approach to a problem.

Ethical considerations

In the video below, the ethical aspects of introducing AI as a mainstream component of our lives are discussed. It really underscores the need to be proactive, instead of reactive to the use of this very powerful technology.

In general, human beings are unable to completely decouple lived experiences from their work–this is what makes us human after all! It is also why we have survived as a species, while others are extinct. However, AI would likely not be influenced in this way and will make a more logical decision to arrive at a solution that may not necessarily be the most morally correct option. It would be presumptuous to then say that the end user has the final moral and ethical responsibility in how the AI-generated solution is implemented or rejected, since they are human! But that’s exactly the point–who is that end user and what are their motives?

Being comfortable with AI

As AI gets more intertwined into our lives, just as how our mobile phones have now found a comfortable place at our dinner tables, it is important to begin setting ethical boundaries. This is rapidly needed and should be similar to those recognized early in the bio-technology era, when scientists saw the potential to do so much with DNA splicing and recombinant DNA, which made the possibilities quite frightening to put it mildly. Arguably, AI without constraint poses a much larger threat–because it embodies all that knowledge in a single entity!

The world has always been assured due to the spatial distribution of knowledge and intelligence, which has kept the planet safe from any single individual’s grand scheme or alter ego. However, this is changing with AI, which imaginably could replace millions of top scientists and specialists with a lone machine. This underscores both the opportunity and the threat that AI brings to the fore.

Regardless of where you stand, the growing impact and reach of AI cannot be understated–or ignored!

Learn more about AI at these links:


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