Imagine a world where machines can mimic human voices perfectly, leading to sophisticated scams that prey on our emotions. Is this the price we might pay for advancing AI?
AI has become a hot topic of conversation recently. As it becomes more advanced, we are seeing it used in our day-to-day lives more frequently.
But the ongoing conversation regarding AI is whether we see this as a positive thing and embrace how rapidly AI is advancing. Or should we be worried about the potential risks this may bring to life as we know it? Let’s get into it.
Scammers are constantly thinking of new tactics to trick vulnerable people. With newly advanced AI, they are now using AI to mimic the voice of a loved one to request money in a life-or-death situation.
In Arizona, a mother picked up a call from an unknown number and heard what she believed to be her teenage daughter sobbing.
She was “100% convinced” the voice was her daughter’s and that this was a genuine kidnapping attempt. In reality, the voice was an AI clone used by scammers to demand a ransom for her daughter’s safe return. It’s a horrific story that reminds us that a tool may only be as ‘good’ as its user.
2. BIAS & DISCRIMINATION
A significant concern surrounding AI is its potential to amplify and continue racial biases and discrimination. AI systems are trained on large datasets that can include societal biases and these biases can remain in the algorithms.
Joy Buolamwini wrote about her experience as an MIT student when she found that facial recognition algorithms in her lab couldn’t detect Black faces. She had to wear a white mask to get the computer to recognise her.
This reminds us how important ensuring diversity and inclusivity is in monitoring, evaluating and training systems, so we can promote fair processes that serve all individuals and communities.
3. EVEN THE GODFATHER OF AI IS WARNING US!
According to the World Economic Forum report, 83 million jobs will vanish in the next 5 years. Although it also expects 69 million new jobs to be created in other areas, we’d still see a net decrease of 14 million (2% of the currently employed). Roles vulnerable to automation like clerical and admin-based roles seem to be at risk the most as AI integrations take over.
Geoffrey Hinton – Nobel prize winner and ‘Godfather of AI’ recently left quit Google in the hope he can now speak more ‘freely’ about the risks of AI.
Originally thinking it would take up to 50 years for AI to become smarter than people, his mind has since changed, and there is now a worry that this could eliminate humanity itself.
He still believes we should work to develop AI as he thinks “it could do wonderful things”. But he believes we should also put equal effort into “mitigating or preventing the possible bad consequences.”
Machine learning algorithms can analyse medical data and AI-powered tech like image recognition can assist clinical analysis.
It has been remarkable in assisting doctors in predicting clinically relevant genetic changes to help detect cancer and other diseases way before the human eye could and, in some cases, a lot more accurately.
Advancements like these have the potential to save lives and contribute to society’s betterment.
AI can play an important role in addressing and helping environmental challenges. With data analysis, pattern recognition and predictive modelling, algorithms can help to manage resources, reduce waste, and help us optimise how we use power.
With predictive modelling, we can better understand climate change patterns and strategise to manage our processes better. AI may prove a crucial tool to tackle the future challenges of climate change and preserve our planet for future generations.
3. WE CAN BENEFIT FROM EFFICIENT AND PRECISE TECH
As humans, we are bound to make mistakes occasionally – it’s common that every so often, we get tired or can become distracted. Algorithms, though, can run all day, every day and probably a lot quicker, without having to worry about this.
With machines handling the ‘boring’ tasks of work, it gives us humans the opportunity to move into more rewarding roles, giving us more work satisfaction and, in some cases, more human interaction. AI could even handle physically demanding or monotonous tasks, keeping employees safe from injury or fatigue and allowing them to take on more fulfilling roles.
So, friend or foe?
As technology advances, I feel we have an obligation to embrace the changes and majority of the time, see the positives in it.
But like Geoffrey Hinton, I think with we must tread carefully and look at all aspects of the changes it may make to our day to day lives.
AI presents a lot of possibilities, challenges, and ethical questions. While it undeniably brings us so many benefits, it’s important that we acknowledge possible risks and work to proactively minimise them.
It’s likely that AI will be used for negative purposes, which is why it’s so important that we remain proactive and vigilant in AI’s development. Experts like Geoffrey Hinton have reminded us to stay proactive and vigilant and so I think it’s important that we do.
With continuous conversations, research and testing we can shape a future where AI becomes a true ‘friend’ that enhances our lives and advances our progress as a society.
I'm curious to know your thoughts - do you think AI is our friend or foe? DM us on our socials and let us know!
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16 May 2023