In a world where technology play a huge part of people’s lives, we would need to understand the “mind” behind systems such as Siri, Cortana, and other programs – known as artificial intelligence. There are two ways to think about the use and power of artificial intelligence. The Weak AI hypothesis states that a computer can simulate some mental activity and intelligent behavior. On the other hand, the Strong AI hypothesis states that a computer engaged in the right computations has a real mind. But what are the benefits and risks of AI? Does one outweigh the other?
In theory, an AI enabled device or machine should be able to do certain things. They should be able to act on a set of rules that it is instructed to obey, as well as analyze and understand whether the behavior that a human is requesting is reasonable. While performing the desired task, they should ensure that the specifications produce the behavior without side effects. If the systems exhibit undesired behavior, the AI device should build in redundant pathways to reestablish control. Perhaps the most important of all is that AI enabled devices should complement humans, not supplement them. They need to have the capability of working with people to obtain feedback and guidance.
The Benefits of AI
Is Artificial Intelligence good or bad? Artificial Intelligence produces many benefits. Artificial intelligence can be used in space exploration. AI enabled machines can endure the environment of space, and can adapt in a way where the atmospheres won’t affect its state and conditioning. In the field of medicine and biology, AI enabled devices are allowing blind people to see and disabled people to walk and run. AI gives the potential to accelerate scientific discovery in the healthcare industry. For example, a system can make medical decisions interactively with a program or use simulation to predict outcomes on the basis of the patient’s data.
AI can also be used to make feasible decisions without emotion. Emotions that often intercept a person’s rational thinking are not a hindrance for artificial thinkers. While a human makes a decision, he or she does so after taking into account of his/her emotions. AI can be used to work tirelessly to complete a repetitive and time-consuming task efficiently. AI enabled machines can be made to thoughtfully plan out the task/activity and can adjust their parameters accordingly. They can be made to act quickly, and they are unaffected by emotion. This could also be a risk of AI.
The Risks of AI
Perhaps one of the main concerns of using AI enabled devices is the question of ethics. Suppose AI is controlling a drone and it fires at a group of people who weren’t the main target. Who is to blame – the AI or the person who programmed the AI? Will countries accept that the decision over life and death can be taken solely by an autonomous system? Probably not. Machines lack the ability to sympathize and empathize with your situations, and it may act irrationally as a consequence. If humans and robots were to work together, other countries might be able to work with AI.
AI lacks emotion – which can either be a good thing or a bad thing. A person must have emotions and reason to have ethical decision-making. Does that mean that AI would have to have feelings and emotions, as well as reason to make an ethical decision? People might think that there are certain things that an intelligent machine shouldn’t be allowed to do, especially things that require emotion. An important aspect of any AI system that interacts with people is that it must reason about what people intend rather than carrying out commands in a literal manner. An AI system must analyze and understand whether the behavior that a human is requesting is judged as “normal” or “reasonable.”
Aside from ethical and moral issues, the risk of a breakdown is one of the biggest disadvantages of AI. If a robotic arm were in the middle of doing heart surgery and breaks down, what would happen? Of course, the surgeons presiding the surgery can take over, but what if it breaks down in a life or death situation? The growing complexity of AI systems in high-stakes roles means that programmers must put much effort into the software quality. The imminent risk of the loss of data is also a problem. In the case of a malfunction, the machine can fail to keep within its memory the files it should have. Even though humans can also make this mistake, it is not expected from an AI enabled machine. Another risk is cyber attacks. If an enemy were to get hold of a lethal weapon, it would be bad for all of humanity. AI algorithms are no different from other software in terms of their vulnerability to cyber attack. Before we put AI in control of a high stake situation or decision, the people behind it should be confident that these systems could survive cyber attacks. The possibility of an out of control AI system can threaten the survival of humanity.
The fear of robots superseding us is a common fear. In a “perfect” world, humans should continue to be the masters of machines. If things were to turn the other way around, then the world will possibly be in chaos. As these machines will be able to perform almost every task better than us, they might be able to take our jobs! People will be left with nothing to do, and machines will populate positions that were occupied by people. Artificial intelligence can help alleviate any difficulties faced by man, but AI machines can never be human.
Is AI Good or Bad?
Given the circumstances of AI, it would seem that the risks outweigh the benefits. Does that mean that AI is bad? Not necessarily. If people and groups could control what happens behind the AI system (the programming) and if they could control anything and everything that the AI is instructed to do, there would be less problems. If the government could control the production of AI systems and machines, people would probably feel less threatened or scared about the AI machines. Taking the necessary precautions will possibly make doubters believe that AI would be very helpful in the long run and that any risk would be diminished.
Artificial intelligence is changing our lives every day. In the near future, AI will bring intelligent machines to make life more convenient and comfortable for everyone. Like any other machine, AI enabled machines do what the human programmers tell them to do. The need to understand AI is beneficial so we could better understand it. AI algorithms should not be in control of potentially dangerous systems until people can provide a high degree of assurance that they will behave safely and properly.