AI: Boon or doom for humankind?

May 1, 2017 | 1446 Views

Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence exhibited by machines. Stephen Hawking, a theoretical physicist and  the world's best known living scientist has publicly said: "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race...It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate...Humans who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded."

There are other points of view; but, I noticed that more movies are being produced based on the dangers of artificial intelligence. I remember the movie 2001 Space Odyssey

where a machine decided that it  was god. Now we have movies, with countless sequels such as the Terminator and Transformer series about machines trying to take over the world.

In 2015 a group of scientists and AI experts, including Hawking and Elon Musk, issued the Open Letter on Research Priorities for Robust and Beneficial Artificial Intelligence. It states:

"The potential benefits of Artificial Intelligence are huge since everything that civilization has to offer is a product of human intelligence, we cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools AI may provide, but the eradication of disease and poverty are not unfathomable. Because of the great potential of AI, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls."

There are undoubtedly many benefits from the future use of artificial intelligence. Medical care will be one of the major beneficiaries. However, there are three principal long term fears about AI's continued development.

The first is that artificial intelligence applications, robotics and other forms of automation will ultimately result in massive unemployment as machines begin to match and exceed the capability of workers to perform routine and repetitive jobs. This will be an extremely difficult adjustment for developing countries that depend on manufacturing andoff shore processing to provide jobs for their population.

In the financial services industry, banks are now using artificial intelligence systems to organize operations, maintain book-keeping, invest in stocks and manage properties.  In the United States, an insurance industry report states that around one third of claims applicants are actually talking to machines in processing their claims.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) in its Global Risks Report 2017 has included the risks of artificial intelligence as one of the emerging technologies that pose potential global risks. The report includes the impressive strides made in AI development. It said:

"Tasks such as trading stocks, writing sports summaries, flying military planes and keeping a car within its lane on the highway are now all within the domain of Artificial Specialized Intelligence (ASI). As ASI applications expand so do the risks of these applications operating in unforseeable ways or outside the control of humans."

Kai-Fu Lee, a top tech entrepreneur in China has said that his firm has invested in companies that can accomplish feats like recognizing three million faces at the same time or dispersing loans in eight seconds. He believes that robots are likely to replace 50% of all jobs in the next 10 years.

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Source: Philstar