Are We Ready for a Future With Artificial Intelligence?

Are we ready for a future with artificial intelligence

Judgment day is near! Well, it might not be like the judgement day we see in the Terminator movies, where exoskeletons and liquid metal cyborgs hunt down the human race, yet it does not mean you should not be alarmed. Out of all the disruptive technologies that are emerging, if there is one that is not given its due attention or concern, is Artificial Intelligence(AI). This emerging technology has the potential of shaking up the very fabrics of society as we know it, both for the better and for worse.

What differentiates AI from a regular program is that the latter is capable of learning. To understand this difference one only has to see the development of Google’s AlphaGo. AlphaGo is an AI program designed to learn the traditional Chinese strategy game Go. Unlike chess, where a computer program can determine the best move based on logical algorithms, Go requires a more intuitive approach. After playing hundreds of games, AlphaGo “learned” to play intuitively. Since then, AlphaGo defeated multiple Go world champions becoming the first computer program to beat a human Go player without using handicaps. Its victory is considered a significant achievement in the field of AI.

One AI reaches its maturity, the effect it will have on the world will be as big, if not greater, as the internet. It can be applied to nearly every existing industry. AI has been used in the healthcare industry to comb through patients medical records to diagnose diseases and give tailored treatment options. Studies have also shown AI to be more effective than doctors at diagnosing certain types of cancer and predicting heart attacks. On the transportation sector, the advancement of self-driving technology is thanks to AI programs serving as the backbone for its systems.

As development of AI continues to advance we will see an improvement in the quality of life for everyone. However, there are also people who will be negatively affected by its implementation. In the future, many jobs that have been traditionally done by humans will be done by AI more effectively. This will result in the loss of jobs across multiple industries. Therefore what role would we humans play in an economy where most jobs can be done more efficiently with AI?

Some say that AI will not cause considerable changes in the workforce due to a belief that there are jobs only humans can do. However, AI is still maturing and we have yet to see the full extent of its applications and capabilities. If you add robotics and automation to the mix, the future employment situation looks even grimmer. CEO of Tesla and SpaceX Elon Musk has voiced his concern on the subject multiple times. He believes AI will develop to the point where humans in comparison will become as competitive as a house cat. Governments should begin planning for the advent of AI in our economy and society sooner than later because, when it fully matures, there will be no time to play catch up.



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