Artificial Intelligence: Bane or Boon?

Artificial intelligence may have bestowed us with numerous advancements in the past few decades, but like any other great aspects of life, it didn’t come without a cost. AI has had its fair share in cons too. But in comparison, the positive side of AI is like a thousand times more promising than the threats posed by the negative side. In fact, it’s mostly because of AI that now we’re swiftly marching towards a society that is controlled by adroit machinery. Let’s judge these aspects of AI concisely in this second part of my blogs on Artificial Intelligence.

Most Likely An Awesome Contribution(?):

Just as I said before, talking about the pros of AI is literally like trying to count the stars in the night sky. It never seems to cease. If we can extract our abilities into machines, they will be able to work much more efficiently than us. We can set computers in almost every sector which requires labor now. Machines can simulate significantly more information than we can in a definite time. So they can work a million times quicker than us, and also, they won’t make any mistakes or won’t get tired of working. We’ll get rid of all the hard labor we have to do now, even from our daily chores. If we can develop AI technology, we may have domestic robots to do our chores while we spend our times in sheer recreation.

After mane false dawns, AI has made extraordinary progress in the past few years, thanks to a versatile technique called ‘Deep learning’. Given enough data, large (which basically means ‘deep’) neural networks, created with a view to getting as close to human brains as possible, can be trained to do almost all kinds of things. They power Google’s searching engines, Facebook’s automatic photo tagging, Apple’s voice assistant Siri , Window’s voice assistant Cortana, Amazon’s shopping recommendations and Tesla’s self-driven cars.

Elon Musk! With his magnificent self-driven Tesla cars.
We all know how efficient this is!
We all know Siri, don’t we?
Cortana, Windows’ voice assistant
auto photo tagging.jpg
Facebook’s automatic photo tagging enables us to automatically tag ourselves by recognizing our features!!!

And trust me, these are the least of the promises AI has provided us with. AI can render literally any kind of service to human beings. With intelligent machines which can process data and take legit decisions, all the most tedious and tiresome jobs will become a piece of pie. And also, machines don’t need to take rests. They can work so much as 24/7 provided we command them for it. Human efficiency tends to slow down after a long period of hard work. But machines don’t have to stop to get their rhythm back. They don’t make mistakes as humans do. So it doesn’t require my saying that a labor world run by machines will be far more flawless and efficient than the present one.

Related Content : Artificial Intelligence : Rise of the Machines 

These days AI has become one of the most promising field of Computer Science and is expected to have a far-reaching effect on human civilization. Deep Blue became the first computer chess-playing system to beat a reigning world chess champion, Garry Kasparov on 11 May 1997. This was a huge milestone for the advancement of AI.

It doesn’t feel like a far-stretched idea that we might have a world run by artificial intelligence within our life span. The way AI is progressing, it is very much possible for AI to take over the laborious works of human life.

Robotics is the most decorated sector of AI until now. We are making thousands of amazing robots from our upgraded knowledge about AI. Without outstanding skills on AI, you simply cannot make good robots. Now-a-days robots are engaged in household chores, teaching, physical endeavors in industries and what not. Robots are slowly gaining a firm grasp on the ongoing success of mankind.

We’ve got used to seeing robots in the factory but in the 21st century robots will increasingly be living among us. These robots must be able to take our perspective and co-operate with us and, if our plans change, they must be able to adjust their behavior accordingly. Most important of all, they must be safe.

-Peter Dominey, a proficient robotics engineer.

Simon the robot..jpg
Simon the iclub robot, so advanced that it can actually play rudimentary games with children.

Another main application of AI is in the industries. In order to properly cope up with this new age of industrialization, we cannot but rely on efficient robots which can not only work far more quickly, but also with a 100% accuracy. In case of ensuring maximum profit from the minimum investment.

Artificial Intelligence is expected to carry us into a dream future, to say the least. The huge prospect of Artificial Intelligence cannot be put into words this easily. Nor can the total concept of Artificial Intelligence be expressed clearly to everyone. It won’t be even a little bit exaggerated if I say artificial intelligence is the future of mankind.


The Latent Negative Sides:

Artificial Intelligence might be something with a huge potential, but it also conveys some minor threats in human civilization. But for a mysterious reason, The existential threats posed by Artificial Intelligence always attracts people, though they are extremely trifling till now and ARE NOT worth any sort of worries.

Experts warn that ‘The substitution of machinery for human labor’ may render a huge population redundant. Machines containing AI will take over all the jobs that need hard labor, or routined calculation, checking etc.Such fears are expressed today by those who worry that advances in AI could destroy millions of jobs. But these are the age-old  words of people discussing mechanization and steam power two centuries ago. Back then the controversy over the dangers posed by machines was known as the ‘Machinery Question’. Now with a huge upsurge in AI research, the question has been resurrected again.

Panics about technological unemployment is not a new notion. It started back in 1960s  (when firms installed computers and robots for the first time) and in 1980s (when PCs landed on desks). Both of the times witnessed a massive automation of different workers’ work.

As a matter of fact, technology created more jobs than it destroyed, as the automation of one chore increased demand for people to do the related tasks that were still beyond machines. Replacing some bank tellers with ATMs, is a perfect example in this case, which made it cheaper to open new branches, creating many more new jobs in sales and customer service. Similarly, e-commerce has increased overall employment in retailing. As with the introduction of computing into offices, AI will not so much replace workers directly as require them to gain new skills of complement it. Although a survey suggests that up to 47% of American jobs face potential automation in the next decade or two, other studies estimate that less than 10% will actually go.

The experience of technological revolution of 19th century shows that the transition of society from a phase to an upgraded phase can turn into a traumatic one. Economic growth DID take off after centuries of stagnant living standards, but decades passed before this was fully reflected in higher wages. This time, in case of Artificial Intelligence, the transition is likely to be a hundred times faster, for technologies diffuse more quickly now than they did 200 years ago. Income inequality is already growing, because high-skill workers benefit disproportionately when technology complements their jobs. This poses two challenges for employers and policymakers : (1) How to help existing workers acquire new skills; and (2) How to prepare future generations for a workplace stuffed full of AI.

Robots are working side by side with men now-a-days.

Another major con of AI is the prospective ‘Existential threat’ it poses on mankind. Yeah, a ‘Terminator’-like threat on mankind. Rogue AI turning evil is the plot of countless Sci-fi films. It is the modern expression of an age-pld fear, going back to ‘Frankenstein’ (1818) and beyond. Prominent physicist (The best of this age) Stephen Hawking, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and the CEO of SpaceX ( A rocket company) and Tesla Motors, the famous business tycoon Elon Musk, have all expressed their concern about robots taking control of human civilization in distant future. A group of prominent tech titans including Peter Thiel, Amazon Web Services and Musk have committed $1 billion to OpenAI a nonprofit company aimed at championing responsible AI development. The opinion of experts within the field of artificial intelligence is mixed, with sizable fractions both concerned and unconcerned by risk from eventual superhumanly-capable AI.

The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. Once humans develop artificial intelligence, it will take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded.

-Stephen Hawking, the best (arguably) physicist of our time.

Concern over risk from artificial intelligence has led to some high-profile donations and investments. In January 2015, Elon Musk donated ten million dollars to the Future of Life Institute to fund research on understanding AI decision making. The goal of the institute is to ‘Grow wisdom with which we manage’ the growing power of technology. Musk also funds companies developing artificial intelligence such as Google DeepMind and Vicarious to just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence. I think there is potentially a dangerous outcome there.

In his book Superintelligence, Nick Bostrom provides an argument that artificial intelligence will pose a threat to mankind. He argues that sufficiently intelligent AI, if it chooses actions based on achieving some goal, will exhibit convergent behavior such as acquiring resources or protecting itself from being shut down. If this AI’s goals do not reflect humanity’s – one example is an AI told to compute as many digits of pi as possible – it might harm humanity in order to acquire more resources or prevent itself from being shut down, ultimately to better achieve its goal.

For this danger to be realized, the hypothetical AI would have to overpower or out-think all of humanity, which a minority of experts argue is a possibility far enough in the future to not be worth researching. Other counterarguments revolve around humans being either intrinsically or convergently valuable from the perspective of an artificial intelligence.

How it may look when robots turn evil!!!

But although AI systems are impressive, until now they can perform only very specific tasks. So a general AI capable of outwitting its human creators remains a distant and uncertain prospect. Numerous sci-fi movies have shown us what will possibly happen if rogue robots suddenly turn evil in future and take their oath on wiping down the existence of their creators, the mankind.

Worrying about it is like worrying about overpopulation on Mars before colonists even set foot there.

-Andrew Ng, a renowned AI researcher.

My research based series on AI is about to come to an end. If you are interested to go beyond the rudimentary factors of AI and want to explore more, here’s an article on The Economist for you (I myself took some facts from there). It may help a lot.

Artificial Intelligence – The Economist.

You guys can also check millions of cool research papers to explore the world of Artificial Intelligence and massive prospects. So why are you waiting? Go have some fun. Adieu!!!

One thought on “Artificial Intelligence: Bane or Boon?

Add yours

  1. Nice Article.Study reveals Artificial Intelligence as “the study and design of intelligent agents”. Which mode this intelligence takes and in what volume it varies extremely on its application. Yes, in brief, today it is a boon. It helps us solve some of the most problematic and difficult problems. Still, we may one day create agents that have human like intelligence but how.


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