Today Artificial Intelligence (AI in English) is a widely used technology, but the associated risks could lead to these situations. “A brave new world” is not yet adequately perceived.
The Good And The Bad Of Technologies
Today, ‘AI (AI in English), in its various meanings, has become a common topic and a technology widely used and encouraged by governments. Furthermore, thanks to the possibilities offered by cloud computing, many of its functions are made accessible at affordable prices.
The topic has opened the debate between those who consider it a “good” technology that sees only advantages, such as that of traveling without the effort of holding the wheel, and those who consider it “bad” perhaps influenced. In reality, technologies are neither good nor bad, while their use may be. For example, the electric car is considered “good” by the masses because it does not pollute. Considering the complete life cycle, from production to disposal, including the extraction of rare earth for batteries, it pollutes more than petrol cars; then, if we think about how electricity is produced.
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Risks Associated With AI
It is important to use technologies when they give real advantages and not according to the current fashion or the degree of innovation. Furthermore, it is necessary to carefully evaluate the related risks in the design phase and operation. For example, in light of current progress, the risk of the computer going crazy seems quite distant, but there are other types of risks, no less severe if underestimated.
The Ease Of Producing
AI documents, photos, videos, and conversations are practically indistinguishable from real ones, to the point that sometimes they do not circulate only on the Internet. This can lead, on the one hand, to making decisions based on false data, on the other hand, to losing all faith in information, even in the real one.
The Race To Finish First, Especially In National Security
The risks are of two types: the one that haste leads to inadvertently leaving points that hackers can attack, and the second, even worse, delegating delicate command decisions to AI systems to have quick and automatic responses to critical events. What would have happened if the respondent had been entrusted to an algorithm rather than an intelligent and courageous man?
The Finish Of Protection And Unrestrained Choice
Our digital behavior, becoming the predominant part of our life, is being tracked and archived. Not only governments but, above all, private companies have access to this amount of data. Suppose we add to these cameras facial recognition, tracking of our movements, biometrics, and predictive analysis of artificial intelligence. In that case, we can say that we are exposed to an unprecedented and potentially dangerous intrusion into our lives.
Furthermore, today’s primary sources of information are no longer newspapers or television but the Internet. There is already censorship on this, carried out by despotic governments, but even more so by a few monopoly operators. We see search engines make unwanted pages disappear, remove prominence, or contain a word considered incorrect. Fortunately, it’s hard to get rid of all traces on the Internet, but they’re indeed working on it.
The Risk Of Locking Ourselves In A Virtual “Skinner Box”
The Skinner Box, named after its inventor, psychologist Burrhus Frederic Skinner, is a tool for studying “operant conditioning.” In one of these experiments on a mouse, the cage had a lever that gave a small electric shock and another that gave a small amount of food as compensation.
After several attempts, the mouse understood which lever to touch and which to avoid. Social media users risk becoming guinea pigs locked in the virtual “Skinner Box” called a smartphone. The compensation for the clicks is the likes, comments, followers, etc. Since social media thrives on advertising, optimizing algorithms to keep users glued to the platform is a good marketing practice. This leads to living more and more in the virtual world, which moreover creates fewer immediate problems than the real one, which sooner or later will cause a rude awakening.
Subjection To The Tools Of Artificial Intelligence
We are increasingly dependent on objects, programs, and computer procedures that use artificial intelligence tools intended to simplify our lives, showing us the best way to drive our car, choose the cheapest flight, or the music to listen to. All this is thanks to mathematical models to which large amounts of data are fed to be analyzed and correlated.
But the preparation of the models and the choice of data depends on the software designers who humanly have limited experiences and interests and who, unconsciously or perhaps more often knowingly, are guided by the interests of those who finance the project or by personal preferences. This affects our freedom and tends to marginalize people, not within the norm identified by the analysis.
Fear Of Artificial Intelligence
It could prevent humanity from enjoying the benefits it can bring. The need to prevent the most severe risks could lead to unbalanced rules or codes of ethics that could be an obstacle to practical developments of this technology, perhaps leaving room for dangerous applications.
A Few Final Considerations
Artificial intelligence is an essential element of the progress of humanity. Like all technologies, it carries risks that we must mitigate and benefits. Making sure that technology is always at the service of man, and not vice versa depends on us who build it. This requires a more accurate software design and testing compared to what happens today.
Leaving the test to users with the alpha and beta versions on such delicate programs is risky. It would also be helpful if the AI programs were all open source to have capillary control. Artificial intelligence programs should facilitate and speed up the final decision, which should always be a thinking human being, as with medical diagnostics, where AI is priceless help. Still, the final responsibility lies with the doctor faithful to the Hippocratic oath. Finally, there should be a more widespread culture on the subject to avoid unnecessary worries and real risks.