The Dangers of Artificial IntelligenceMay 15, 2023
The advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionized how we interact with technology, providing us with many capabilities and possibilities. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and the dangers of misuse or misapplication of AI should be taken seriously. Therefore, as we explore the potential applications of AI in our lives, it is critical to consider the risks posed by artificial intelligence and how to mitigate them.
What AI systems can do to us.
Artificial intelligence is a form of technology that can be best described as emulating human consciousness and having the ability to think and decide based on how it is programmed and having it perform its various actions through hardware and software designed to maximize its capabilities. It has been with us for quite some time now, such as in computers, cell phones, and later on, in appliances designated as intelligent devices and other forms of technology capable of automatically and independently performing a task without human intervention.
If you have been keeping up with the latest news on technology, you probably may have come across topics and discussions regarding the rise of AI in recent times. ChatGPT is one AI program that is the center of recent conversations due to how it is being utilized by people to generate blocks of text depending on what you ask it to create. It is creating a buzz because some people in the academe use it to create essays and answer questions for them automatically instead of having to think and compose the text yourself. It is compromising integrity. Also, suppose you are into animation and video games. In that case, you may have already noticed the proliferation of AI-generated art, creating issues due to robbing real-life artists of their artistic creativity. Not to attack AI negatively, but these are some of the risks of AI when it goes out of control, and people utilize it incorrectly. Just like with any form of technology, by themselves, they are not good or bad, and it depends on how people use and program these things that will dictate whether they will serve the right or wrong purpose.
At this point, AI technology is not yet as advanced as we see them in some fictional movies and stories where they are already capable of replicating and thinking for themselves to the point that they surpass humans' intelligence and overtake their civilization. While this may sound like paranoia, it is not in the realm of impossibility. With how AI grows rapidly, we may reach the point where what we see in fictional works becomes a reality, especially if no one manages and regulates the developers of AI. Some potential risks that AI could do to us humans are the following.
With the proliferation of AI tools capable of generating texts through a few prompts, anybody can publish and spread information that looks authentic and convincing, which most people may be led to believe is accurate and true. However, to the untrained eye, AI-generated texts may look no different from adequately researched and documented information. Those who know how to research and exercise critical thinking can spot if a text is AI-generated, but not everybody has such a mindset as this. Because of this, many may be led to false information, as AI is not that proficient yet in creating certain information. An AI system may combine facts from different fields of interest and present them as accurate without creating coherence between them. For example, an AI may generate information that states a gadget was developed in a particular year having specific dimensions, capabilities, and features. Still, the specifications might be that of a different device, and while the year is accurate, the gadget mentioned in the information might have been created in a different year.
While AI is still imperfect in creating information that resembles one created by someone who thoroughly researched their data, we should not disregard the possibility that it may eventually reach that point. This can lead to further consequences that affect how humans digest information and alter our perspectives.
2. Manipulation of people
As a consequence of disinformation due to various AI-generated content, it can lead to the manipulation of people. For example, individuals with malicious intent can program AI algorithms to push a particular agenda without the people knowing they are being led to go for a specific outcome. An excellent example is the alleged manipulation of election results, which is done by generating information and data that favor specific candidates to sway public opinion. Another way AI can manipulate people is by making them follow a specific interest by showing them content or advertisements that cater to a particular niche while browsing the Internet, engaging in social media, or playing games online, even if that may not be currently an interest of an individual but is somehow related to it. People may also be led to believe something is true even if it is not by seeing AI-generated works, such as images or texts. This can be risky for people who don't validate what they see or at least be suspicious of the content that they see.
3. Job loss
One familiar AI risk people fear is the possibility of AI takeover of many jobs, displacing and removing people from the workforce. With technological advances and devices, many functions have become automated. This can go further if AI becomes so advanced that it can take over the thinking and decision-making processes humans have to do. When this happens, people will lose their source of income. Although new jobs may be created involving the management of AI, this will require new skill sets, and not everybody may be able to adapt. This can lead to social unrest and inequality, with only a few people being able to earn an income while the rest don't. Companies may feel more inclined to use AI instead of humans when the time comes that it becomes so advanced because it can be cheaper and more efficient compared to paying and hiring multiple people to do tasks that a single AI program can manage.
4. Invasion of privacy and surveillance
We are already at an age where it is challenging to be private and ensure only you know vital information about yourself and other things. Social media and the Internet have made people's lives public, although it is still possible to have control by choosing not to engage in such media. However, with how our current system works, utilizing the Internet and social media is necessary, and it can be difficult to escape their influence. And when AI advances even further, it can be integrated into various devices like security cameras and even websites that we browse to track our behavior and give others an idea about our preferences. Others can use this means to pry into people's lives and exert control over them, such as authoritative bodies like governments and other institutions with varying interests. Everything can become a gigantic Big Brother show, with every person unknowingly or forced to participate.
5. Weaponizing AI and taking over humanity
Suppose you have watched The Terminator or other science fiction movies or read works with such themes. In that case, the main thing that makes artificial intelligence dangerous in these media is AI can now think for itself and do aggressive actions or make drastic decisions that lead to the human race being controlled or obliterated by machines that possess advanced AI. While most of us will probably laugh at such an idea, it's not entirely restricted to fantasy. In the first place, AI is already with us, and it's only a matter of time before we utilize it on robots or other things, like weapons, that can have severe implications once things go out of control. We have seen how technology improves quickly, and AI is no exception. The possibility of autonomous weapons automatically picking their targets and bypassing country borders or machines and robots that can think like humans and execute actions without remorse or make careful judgments that only humans can make can all be a reality. If AI falls into the wrong hands and only a few regulations are set to monitor it, things we only see in movies or books may become a reality one day.
AI should be regulated and utilized correctly.
Some may say people may just be overthinking about the risks AI poses to us. While that can be true, it is also true that AI can go wrong and bring about unpleasant effects on society. Just like with various forms of technology, how humans use them will dictate whether they will improve humanity or the other way around. And we have already seen that there will be people who use technology for the wrong purposes, such as those that commit cybercrimes or people or companies that secretly spy on us and gather our data. AI can also be mishandled, and the risks may be more significant than any technology we have seen. Concerned individuals like government agencies and system designers of AI should create a governing body that can manage and enforce protocols for the proper creation and usage of AI to ensure it doesn't get misused. When used correctly, AI can be a big help to everyday life; we have to make sure it gets used that way and not for anything that may be dangerous for humans and the world we live in.