The issue of artificial intelligence is at the centre of every research being conducted in every field of the human society. By not using AIs how much could we be missing out on? And by using AIs what risks are we exposing ourselves to? These are questions that humans have to contend with in their pursuit of Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence is already being applied across the various sectors of our economies. From finance, manufacturing, health, media, hospitality to defense. The issue of whether humans should continue to expand on the developments they have made in artificial intelligence is a controversial issue that this paper is going to look at from the alternative viewpoints and come up with a conclusion.
One of the most common concerns raised against AIs is that they will increase unemployment rates (Bench-Capon, 2015). This is true taking into account some AI systems could accomplish in some few hours, what a team of 100 people could do in a day. This creates a point of conflict where humans have to compete with AIs for jobs. Taking into account that AI systems are faster, smarter, can work for longer and for no pay at all, it seems like humans dont stand a chance against AIs. The amount of money a company could make and save at the same time by employing AIs is a lot. It, therefore, doesnt seem logical to create AIs while they pose a risk to the foundations of our modern civilization.
AIs could lead to human destruction. Another argument raised by those opposing development of AIs. If history has anything to say on this matter, of which it has, is that humans have the tendency to desire what could give them more control over each other and their environment. A good example is the nuclear weapons. An experiment that was supposed to provide us with an answer to our energy needs, but instead ended up being used as a weapon of mass destruction against each other and possesses serious risk to everyone including the owner. The case is similar or worse when it comes to AIs because humans might not be able to control them. The more advanced they become, the less dependent they are on humans, and this may continue to the point they are in a position to replace humans. It is no secret that AI has the potential to become superior to humans both physically and mentally which will mean humans will no longer be on top of the hierarchy of living organisms on earth. So should humans shut down all the research they are doing on AI and go back to whatever they were doing before?
AI offers more good than harm. If the argument provided above is true, then it implies stopping the research and development of AIs wont solve a thing because humans will just find something else to self-destruct. If we also choose to relook at history, it also shows the advancements the human civilization has made is because of human ambition to pursue what is beyond the horizon. The AI technology is far from being a reality but takes a look at the impact it already has on the modern world. From speech recognition which is now three times faster than typing, thats according to research by Stanford Computer Scientist James Landay. The error rate has also dropped to less than 4.9 %( Jones, 2015). Thats fewer errors than an average person makes while typing. Vision systems such as those being used on self-driving cars. The issue of self-driving cars has especially been subject to criticism because computers are still prone to errors. I think this is a poor point of argument because humans are even more prone to errors than computers. Therefore self-driving cars will be less prone to accidents. The possibilities with AI are almost limitless.
AI will result in more productivity. An average person works almost 80 hrs a week. Working, in this case, referring to not just their income activity but also other activities such as house chores. Most people crave to have just a few days that will allow them to release the pressure that comes with life. It is this need that created a human desire for AI. AI wont mean that humans will need not work, but it will enable humans to do more within a much shorter time. AI systems are already crunching down data in research centers that would have taken normal human years to analyze (Mylopoulos & Brodie, 2014). These are what is being referred to as increased productivity. This means companies wont require their employees to work long hours in order to progress. They could just bring in AI to deal with additional work.
Still on matters of work, AIs could be allowed to take over jobs that are risky and hazardous to humans. These include jobs like bomb disarmament, mining of harmful substances such as sulphur. Exploration of hostile environments in space. By having AIs take over these jobs it could reduce significant expenditure on areas of defence, mining and space programs. A good example of this is the mission to Mars which is incurring significant cost increments because of the need to provide basic human needs. These include food, water, and shelter. It becomes difficult to provide all this because of the limited space available in rockets and the increased weight. In fact, the advances that humans will make in future in terms of space exploration are entirely dependent on Artificial Intelligence. It makes more sense to send AIs into untested environments because the repercussions are less.
The opposing arguments to development of AI technology are very valid and are matters to be concerned about. However, in order to advance as a society, humans need to be willing to accept change. The human life isnt quite long enough for humans to accomplish most things they want in life. In order for one to make progress, they need to be capable of adapting to change. The human environment is constantly changing at a very fast rate, and if we dont change with it, we risk extinction. The possibilities of AI simply outweigh the risks. AIs could offer solutions to diseases and other human health matters in terms of genetics and brain mapping, provide solutions that could extend human life (Zang et. al, 2015), help us explore the Universe and colonise other planets, improve economies and reduce poverty, increased food production and offer solutions to global warming. All these are real problems that we contend with on our day to day life, and so far the old methods dont appear to be working. If anything they are worsening the situation. From the arguments presented it is clear that humans should pursue artificial intelligence.
Jones, M. T. (2015). Artificial Intelligence: A Systems Approach: A Systems Approach. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Zang, Y., Zhang, F., Di, C. A., & Zhu, D. (2015). Advances of flexible pressure sensors toward artificial intelligence and healthcare applications. Materials Horizons, 2(2), 140-156.
Bench-Capon, T. J. (2014). Knowledge representation: an approach to artificial intelligence (Vol. 32). Elsevier.
Mylopoulos, J., & Brodie, M. L. (2014). Readings in artificial intelligence and databases. Morgan Kaufmann.
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