Artificial Intelligence is referred to as the technology used for programming machines to make them take decisive actions without any human intervention. This is about the new trend now. While launching a £10 million Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, Professor Stephen Hawking raised major concerns about Artificial Intelligence. He said it could be the best thing to happen to human beings and at the same time, it could be the very worst.
Although Artificial Intelligence has so many benefits, it will also bring dangers. Powerful autonomous weapons that could wipe out the human race are enough reason to have a second thought before exploiting Artificial Intelligence or it could even be a new way through which the few will begin to oppress many.
Apart from the major concerns raised by Hawking, there are several other ones that pundits have raised over the years. But before these concerns are raised, some of the benefits of Artificial Intelligence will be outlined for a balanced assessment.
Artificial Intelligence reduces error and promotes a high level of precision and accuracy. With the use of Artificial Intelligence, robots can be made to explore different parts of interplanetary space despite the hostile and inhabitable conditions there.
Intelligence robots can also be used to dig fuels and mining. They are used to overcome human limitations. Human beings get tired of repetitive and boring tasks but robots can do them over and over again and they are not paid a dime for it.
Another simple application of Artificial Intelligence is when you are typing on your phone. After typing the first two letters, your phone will begin to bring suggestions of words based on the first two letters. This is obviously makes typing much faster. Another popular application of AI is in video games. You may not appreciate the AI technology in video games much until you play against the computer. When you play a fighting game, your computer will control your opponent and play the game just as if someone else is holding the second control pad. The computer will dodge your punches, block them, and even attack you too. If you are not careful, the computer can even defeat you, yet nobody is using the other control pad. That is the beauty of Artificial Intelligence.
Companies now make use of digital assistants to interact with users of their services. This saves them the need for human resources. In some situations, human beings make decisions based on sentiments and this leads to wrong results. But since robots lack emotions, they take decisions based on how they are programmed to respond.
The biggest benefit of artificial intelligence is that machines do not sleep, they don’t rest, they don’t go for a break, or go on leave. Yet, they don’t earn a dime and they still do all the tasks assigned to them with higher speed and accuracy.
Having discussed some of the benefits of Artificial Intelligence, it is necessary to outline some of the concerns raised by pundits.
First of all, it is not ethically right to create replicas of human beings. Making robots a replica of human beings is like playing God. Besides, intelligence is a gift of nature and should be left as such. No matter how long a robot works, it will never get better with experience. Sometimes, the situation on the ground may require the employee to act differently. A robot may not be able to act differently when an unexpected situation occurs.
Another major concern is the massive loss of jobs. When a single robot takes over the job of about 20 individuals, what will happen? Isn’t that crisis on its own? For instance, Google is working in conjunction with another company to produce an AI-driven smart car that can drive itself by 2020. What will happen if Google produces the car in a commercial number? A lot of drivers will definitely lose their jobs worldwide. Jobs are getting difficult to get these days, what will now happen when Artificial Intelligence is fully exploited?
Some restaurants have started making use of robots instead of human waiters and waitresses. Soon, more restaurants will join. The implication is that waiters and waitresses should be getting prepared to learn another skill. But some people are of the opinion that robots cannot fully replace human beings in restaurants. Sometimes when a particular dish does not taste good, the customer asks the waiter to taste it. Can a robot handle that?
Even medical facilities have also started “employing” robot nurses. But the problem is that robots lack emotions. It is important for a nurse to show compassion, empathy, sympathy, and even understanding of patients’ situations. Can a robot exhibit all that?
Some jobs require a high level of innovation and creativity. But can a robot be creative? Creativity has no limit, so no matter the volumes of codes used to program a robot, it can never be as creative as human beings. In other words, a robot’s creativity is limited.
One thing is for sure, the more you depend on machines for everything, the less you make use of your mental capabilities. And it will stop developing from there. The mind has to be stretched. A very good example is that anybody that gets used to the corrective facilities on any word processing software will keep getting worse with common spelling.
Finally, back to Professor Hawking’s major concern, a robot may somehow gain control of a weapon of massive destruction. Robots can activate such weapons even if they would be wiped along with them. More so, terrorists could take advantage of Artificial Intelligence to design robots that can detonate bombs in the middle of a mammoth crowd.
All these concerns should be considered in the ongoing research on the future of intelligence because this could mark the end of humanity if care is not taken.