Is AI Dangerous?

As most of us know now, AI stands for artificial intelligence. This refers to intelligent machines that can think and act like humans do (such as recognising faces, understanding languages and driving cars). AI is very useful when it comes to carrying out repetitive tasks or being a force of security on a smaller scale- however, there are concerns that in the future, these potentially super intelligent machines will become better than humans at performing all cognitive tasks. 

Is AI dangerous?

Problems begin when we put too much trust into these smart machines. Elon Musk (one of the smartest people to be working on AI) has publicly expressed his worries  surrounding the advanced technology and suggests that it could be the biggest threat to human civilisation- Stephen Hawking also shared these views and disagreed with how advanced the systems were becoming. When most of us think about the dangers of AI, killer robots from the future come to mind- however, those concerns appear to be the least of our current concerns:

 

  1. A privacy disaster

Clearview AI allows anyone to snap a photo of someone else in a public place, upload it to the app, and quickly find out their personal information such as their full name, social media accounts, and their address. This is made possible through the app’s database that contains over 3 billion photos that have been taken from platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This has been viewed as a privacy crisis that can be extremely dangerous if it gets into the wrong hands- this would take stalking to another level and end the days where you could walk down a street anonymously.

 

  1. Autonomous weapons

If the wrong person were to get their hands on AI, and programmed a system to do something dangerous, no one else would be able to control it. This leads us to the idea of weaponised programming. AI has been used by countries as a force for security through robot soldiers who are designed to fight in wartime against enemies. However, there are concerns that this programming could go wrong and the technology could begin to fight against its own forces- meaning that we can’t entirely rely on this technology. The President of Russia, Mr. Vladimir Putin said: “Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia but for all humankind. It comes with enormous opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”

 

  1. Social manipulation

AI has the potential to manipulate the population on a huge scale. For example, social media companies control our data and can prioritise content that promotes their favoured ideas and views- this is made possible through AI controlled algorithms. If you deviate against these ideas, you could be met with a significant negative response- these could be powered by bots rather than real people. This is all down to the theory that this will cause us to change our ideas in order to fit in with the mainstream views that social media platforms have promoted.

These algorithms are also considered discriminatory (as mentioned in our previous ‘Should facial recognition be banned?’ blog) because they consistently fail to recognise women and people of colour. This could reflect the lack of diversity in the AI field itself (women at most occupy only 30% of the industry jobs according to recent studies).

 

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