Myths and truths about artificial intelligence

Myths and truths about artificial intelligence

Myths and truths about artificial intelligence

© Sonmez Karakurt / Getty Images / Ideal Image

1. Artificial intelligence will lead to mass unemployment

One of the biggest fears humans have about artificial intelligence today relates to the prospect of widespread job losses. When machines are already capable of doing creative work, like writing text and producing images or reading X-rays, how can you be sure that your own work will not be threatened? Nothing is as sure for the next few years as the publication of lists of professions threatened by artificial intelligence. I would recommend staying calm first. Certainly, non-repetitive (plumbing), emotional (healing) or imaginative (leadership) jobs are not at risk, but who knows what professions will emerge in the decades to come? Could anyone have predicted a hundred years ago that thousands of people would work in IT today? No technological revolution has brought mass unemployment, and this one may be different, but the world’s politicians are not going to saw off the sitting branch en masse, leaving consumers with no purchasing power. Even if there is greater turbulence than expected, there are tools to absorb job losses. The vision of the age of automation is for all of us to reach a level where we are freed from boring and strenuous tasks so that we have plenty of free time to use as we wish. The ultimate goal is that machines allow us all to live better. As far as we’re concerned, the man won’t be out of the equation anytime soon. Mass unemployment may arise not as an unwanted and unexpected side effect of automation, but as the result of inadequate labor policies. We work to live, not the other way around. Machines can become a mirror and help us rethink the meaning of life and work. The danger of machines is not so much mass unemployment as mass boredom.

2. It’s technology neutral

Imagine driving a car up a steep hill covered in ice. No matter how hard you try, with the brakes, the gears, the steering, the vehicle – this wonderful technology of the 20th century – will only stop when it encounters an obstacle in its path. The accident will be inevitable. When we say a technology is neutral, we mean that it is a tool, like a knife, that we can use either to cut bread or to threaten other people. “It depends on what you use it for” is the classic argument. But the example of the car rolling down the icy slope shows us that sometimes, inevitably, the conditions play a more important role than the use of the individual. This is why we must be extremely proactive with all powerful technologies, for example stopping traffic in dangerous conditions or equipping technologies with additional security measures. The relationship all of this has to artificial intelligence is obvious. Artificial intelligence is not always neutral. Of course, if it falls into the hands of evil people, it will become a powerful weapon or, correspondingly, if it is used by people who have only good in mind, it will become a tool of interest. audience. But even then, you have to be careful, because “the road to hell is paved with the best intentions”. The context in which we use artificial intelligence matters enormously. In these circumstances, even if uncontrolled, the AI ​​can only be destructive. Like nuclear power, and so many other powerful technologies like fire, would if we left them unregulated and unregulated.

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3. It will destroy human civilization

From time to time, many honest doomsayers use successful metaphors to describe the existential threat we face today when it comes to artificial intelligence. Some say, for example, that once we let the genie out of the lamp there is no turning back. Others claim that we have already opened Pandora’s box. I wouldn’t be too quick to call them Cassandra, because Cassandra’s warning in the Trojan War was true, and that worries me a lot. In fact, we are still quite far from the prospect of a general artificial intelligence, as we call the advent of the thinking machine, which will be able to deceive and destroy us. There are logical and very convincing arguments, which do not exclude the possibility of the worst-case scenario. Can the superintelligence faithfully follow the instructions that will lead to the depletion of all resources on the planet. He can, surpassing us in intelligence, spare us the fate of the gorilla, showing us off in zoos. But all these thought experiments depend on one crucial factor: the human. If we disappear as a species, it will not be the result of the ingenuity of the machine. The worst-case scenario will be the result of human choices. The cause will be our own actions or omissions. Our own greed, our own laziness, our own pride will be the measure of our symbiotic future with the machines. Eventual disaster will bear our signature.

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© Sonmez Karakurt / Getty Images / Ideal Image

4. He will solve all major problems of mankind

First, we need to agree on what humanity’s big problems are, because as a species we are generally characterized by a myopic tendency to see our local problems as more important. But climate change is neither a local problem nor a theoretical problem. Artificial intelligence is also not a theoretical question. There is a techno-utopian approach in tech-savvy circles that does not want to hear about risks at all. Many believe that because things have developed a certain way in the past, they will continue to do so in the future. Of course, Nassim Nicholas Taleb in Black Swan has a different opinion. The reality never ceases to surprise us. Artificial intelligence, despite reaching a very advanced stage in 2020, has failed to predict the coronavirus pandemic. However, this made it possible to deal with it, to discover vaccines and drugs, but also to put in place protective measures. It is certain that we will outsource more and more work to machines, but the important final decisions will always be made by us. Human surveillance is not meant to leave the frame. At one time, there were five people in the cockpit of planes, whereas today there are only two. In practice, pilots are only involved during take-off and landing, but this regime is not expected to change. Even in self-driving vehicles, someone should be sitting in the driver’s seat. Artificial intelligence can help us solve all of humanity’s major problems, diseases, environmental crises and even poverty. It will not be the result of the technology itself, but of the political choices that will be made in the years to come. As a political tool, machine-assisted decision-making can help democracies, but it can also bring unprecedented algorithmic totalitarianism to the world. It all depends on our collective vision, because technology is a means, not an end. Humanity can pin its hopes on artificial intelligence, provided it does not lose faith in man himself.

5. Uncontrolled

Like all technologies, artificial intelligence is part of each country’s regulatory frameworks, which deal with its short-term risks on a case-by-case basis. For long-term risks, however, there is still no specific support worldwide. We are still in the early stages. The constant hesitation of lawmakers in the face of emerging technologies is not to harm innovation and not to sacrifice potential profits on the altar of excessive protectionism. The big common problem with exponential technologies is that they move quickly and governments don’t keep up with its progress. The European Union is soon to pass the first major law on artificial intelligence, which it calls the AI ​​Act, which will try to introduce some important rules. The EU takes a risk-based approach. At the top of the so-called “risk pyramid” are artificial intelligence applications that will be banned, such as the use of software that socially assesses citizens and real-time facial recognition, except for law enforcement. ‘order. At the base of the pyramid are applications that present a limited risk, and are therefore accepted. This law, which has been under discussion for three years, has not caught up with the arrival of ChatGPT, so it may need to be revised. As more citizens begin to understand the benefits and risks of artificial intelligence, this law will usher in a new era of increased scrutiny and transparency of this great 21st century technology. The AI ​​is controlled, and it will be properly controlled, as long as we don’t make a stupid mistake along the way. It’s in our hands.

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