Should Humanity Fear Advances in Artificial Intelligence

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Nowadays, there are a lot of talks and debates on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its future. This is an issue which is increasingly causing concern amongst a significant portion of the world’s population. But before discussing fear of advances in AI, first, it is better to clearly know what AI is. “AI can be seen as a collection of technologies that can be used to imitate or even to outperform tasks performed by humans using machines” (Bollegala, 2016, para. 4). We can see many of it around us which do many different tasks outstandingly and accurately.

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Examples can be self-driving cars, chess playing machines, autopilots, robots used in surgery, robots in workplaces, and many others that are very intelligent and made our lives easier. However, AI has raised concerns about its future for humankind. Despite helping humanity and making their lives easy, it has enough amount of risks as well. Therefore, this essay will argue three main important risks of AI that humanity should be afraid of: ethical issue, losing jobs, and end of humanity.

The first reason that human beings should fear advances in AI is the AI`s ethics. According to Chatfield (2014), every innovation particularly innovation in AI comes with some potential and actual harm to human beings. Ponoski (2018) argues that as AI becomes more pervasive in the world, it negatively affects the lives of all humanity because they are inherently not able to behave morally. He says that humans have to teach them what ethical values or morality is. However, the question is that we, as humans have the same understanding of morality to agree on and program AI based on that. Ponoski further adds that it is something very complex and difficult because there is no standardized set of ethical norms. Different cultures have different ethical values and different situations need a different set of actions. Besides, there are situations that have more than one course of ethical action. Ponoski comments that a good example can be autonomous weapons that are used in the military. At the same time, AI needs explicit metrics that can be measured easily and clearly which seems very difficult for humans to program or teach them what is right and what is wrong (Ponoski, 2018). He claims that if humans particularly AI designers fail to agree on the same set of ethical values and design them according to these values, AI itself will make the decision on what is good for us. For instance, self-driving cars in accidents will decide whom to save; the one who is in it or outside on the street which will definitely face humanity with difficult situations (Ponoski, 2018). This is why humanity should be concerned about AI advances.

Unemployment or losing job is another distress which may cause humans to be afraid of AI. West (2018) claims that in this era, AI improved the productivity and economies of several countries but in spite of these benefits it took and will take millions of jobs from people and will put them in poverty. Barnett (2017) also makes a statement that as much as AI get advanced and make the processes and tasks better, it will affect humans` jobs and the jobs that are in need of human will be automated and will be taken by AI. As Frank (2017) asserts, from 400 to 800 million workers in the world displaced by AI or automation. Furthermore, in 2030 around one-third of US citizens will lose their jobs due to advance in AI. Mckinsey also agrees with Frank that 30% of the jobs will be automated in 2030 and 375 million people will be affected worldwide (as cited in West, 2018). Economists Sachs and Kotlikoff write that “smart machines now collect our highway tolls, check us out at stores, take our blood pressure, massage our backs, give us directions, answer our phones, print our documents, transmit our messages, rock our babies, read our books, turn on our lights, shine our shoes, guard our homes, fly our plane, write our wills, teach our children, kill our enemies, and the list goes on”  (as cited in Vardi, 2016, para. 8). In addition, unemployment will lead to mortality and health problems. Not just these, but social and economic problems will also arise. The people will not have enough money to cover their expenses. So they may commit property crimes. Unemployed people will not be able to pay taxes instead government will have to provide food and shelter and other services for them which causes a big recession and many other of such problems (Gleeson, 2018). Thus, humans should keep it in mind that AI will steal their jobs.

Another concern is that people claim that advances in AI will lead to the end of humanity. Bostrom an Oxford professor states that we should fear from advances in AI because their creators create them super intelligent that then they can reshape and redesign themselves. This way it will be a big threat for humans and may create very big problems in the future (as cited in Mathews, 2014). Stephen Hawking expresses his fear like this “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race” (as cited in Cellan-Jones, 2014, para. 1). For instance, Skynet is a super intelligent robot that was miss programmed by his creator and he decides to take humanity of out of the earth. His designer said that he is going to fulfill his mission (Harrison, 2016). According to Ditterich a technologist, AI should not be totally self-directed and independent of human control because if humans do not have control over AI, we will face a situation that we really don’t want to face (as cited in Thompson, 2015). Here is an example of giving full autonomy to a plane. In 2009 a plane with 228 passengers that flew to Paris from Rio de Janeiro plunged into Atlantic due to having over speed that could not be controlled by autopilot. It was also too late that human pilot could save it (Nicholas, 2015). Hence, AI is a significant threat to mankind that should be taken seriously.

To conclude, AI is an inseparable part of our lives. It is everywhere; in security, in health, in our workplaces, in our home, and so on. We do not ignore its advantages. It brought many facilities and efficiency in our lives. However, in some situations, it can be dangerous that made humans to be afraid of it. It can act unethically or kill humans and remove them from the earth. But for every problem, there is a solution. We can make it act according to our interests by coming up with a set of ethical values that we all agree on. Also the engineers or designers can use these values to program it. Besides, the designers can do another favor for the whole humanity by not making it fully autonomous. If it is not fully automated, we control them then it will no longer be a threat for humans. These are the solutions that if we would not be able to remove all its dangers and threats, at least we can reduce its intimidation to the minimum level.

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Should Humanity Fear Advances in Artificial Intelligence. (2019, Jun 16). Retrieved from