In the last few years, we have seen an escalating debate concerning Artificial Intelligence, whereas many have been excited as well as threatened by the unknown. We have been taught that the possibilities with AI are endless and that our society will never again be as we know it. Be that as it may, AI is no longer only a myth or a distant phenomenon associated with early 2000 science fiction movies. Artificial intelligence is here and it’s here to stay. However, is AI a threat to humanity as we know it?
In simple terms, AI is a simulation of human intelligence processed by machines. The machines, usually in the form of computer systems, are programmed to display human capabilities such as learning, reasoning, problem-solving, and interacting. This type of technology has been used for many years – for instance in navigation systems, smartphones, facial recognition, e-payments, etcetera. Although with the intense technological development around the world, AI is establishing an even bigger role and impact in today’s society.
When discussing AI, we can’t overlook the leading figures behind the debate – one of which is Elon Musk. Musk is one of the co-founders of the U.S. startup OpenAI, the firm behind the Chat GPT that launched earlier this fall. Chat GPT is an AI Chatbot that recently has been making headlines because of its groundbreaking features. Chat GPT is a pre-trained generative chat that uses textbooks, websites, articles, etc to model responses like those humans would provide, and it’s a concrete example of how advanced AI is becoming. The tech billionaire is however one of the advocates regarding the threats of AI. Musk firmly believes that AI comes with great danger. Earlier this week, Musk spoke about the developments of Chat GPT at the World Government Summit in Dubai. He told the attendees that AI comes with “great promise, great capability” but he also stressed the fact that it’s one of the biggest risks to the future of civilization. One of Elon Musk’s arguments for potential dangers is that there are yet no regulations controlling the systems or restraining the development of AI.
One other big threat is the disinformation and social manipulation that some people fear AI might result in. Through algorithms and personal data, AI can “cherry-pick” and provide information based on individual preferences. It does not matter if it’s fake or fiction, and easy and personal access to disinformation can have devastating consequences. The invasion of privacy is another hazard of AI. Cameras everywhere in combination with facial recognition and other algorithms will leave you constantly supervised. One possible outtake is that AI will store information about you. Every imperfection is documented, which in the long run could lead to discrimination or social oppression.
However, there is no clear consensus if AI actually will surpass human intelligence. Some experts do believe that it eventually will happen, and some are not so sure. One of the main counterarguments is that AI does not have all the human abilities, such as empathy and creative thinking. Also, in the debate on AI, a common belief is that AI will outperform a large number of jobs and increase unemployment. Even so, a report from the World Economic Forum predicts that AI will replace 85 million jobs by 2025, but 97 million new jobs concerning AI will be available. We need to learn how to work with and around AI in order not to be replaced by it.
To sum up, it’s with mixed emotions that many of us watch the new technological phenomenon that AI is. It feels like we are entering a new area, and that our world will never be the same. The question remains – is artificial intelligence a threat to humanity? There is no concrete evidence to prove this claim, but it will for sure be a challenge in the upcoming years, navigating through new forms of structure, laws, and moral dilemmas. But one thing is for sure – Artificial Intelligence can be a very powerful tool in the right hands, and very dangerous in the wrong ones