Artificial Intelligence is the rapidly developing field of computer science concerning the creation of technology with human-like cognitive abilities. Used by the likes of Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, it seeks to be the next step in computational processes.1
Due to its broad definition, artificial intelligence encompasses a wide range of potential usages. Generally, AI can be divided into three main levels:
Artificial Narrow Intelligence: Machines designed to accomplish a single goal while limited by constraints or datasets (ex: Image recognition, Voice Assistants)
Artificial General Intelligence: Machines able to imitate human thinking and reasoning, adaptable to new circumstances (ex: Self-driving vehicles)
Artificial Super Intelligence: Hypothetical machines able to surpass human ability2
Currently, the development of AI lies mainly within Narrow Intelligence, with both AGI and ASI stemming from future predictions.3
With the imminent creation of technologies able to surpass human capabilities, many problems have been proposed as threats to human safety. Due to the speculative nature of such issues, many problems are yet to be fully understood.4
For one, due to artificial intelligence drawing from human-generated datasets, consequent biases may emerge. One such example would be the Twitter chatbot, Tay, developed by Microsoft. Initially designed to mimic the language of internet users, Tay eventually began using inflammatory and offensive speech resulting from individual users who had taught the system to use such language.5
Examples like this display the downsides of biased datasets in AI, which could potentially lead to malicious exploitation or manipulation.
Another potential risk would be the misalignment of artificial intelligence with human interests. While the belief that super-intelligent machines would somehow develop human resentment is widely unfounded, advanced AI technologies could unknowingly detriment humanity. For instance, the current usage of lethal autonomous weapons implements artificial intelligence for unmanned flight. These weapons simply follow the task provided, built with the intention of causing destruction.6
As artificial intelligence continues to develop, individuals should mind the concerns of uncontrolled growth. Rather than opposing such advancement, governments and organizations should maintain strict ethical standards and regulations to prevent any potential issues. Upholding secure processes would ensure that such technologies will continue to be used with beneficial results. Rather than pursuing uncontrolled, impulsive development, we as individuals should be continually aware of the potential dangers that new technologies may pose.7
1Anderson, Janna, and Lee Rainie. “2. Solutions to Address AI’s Anticipated Negative Impacts.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, Pew Research Center, 31 Dec. 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2018/12/10/solutions-to-address-ais-anticipated-negative-impacts/.
2“Artificial Intelligence.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/technology/artificial-intelligence.
3Jajal, Tannya D. “Distinguishing between Narrow AI, General AI and Super Ai.” Medium, Mapping Out 2050, 13 Feb. 2020, https://medium.com/mapping-out-2050/distinguishing-between-narrow-ai-general-ai-and-super-ai-a4bc44172e22.
4Jones, Taylor, et al. “Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems.” Future of Life Institute, Taylor Jones Https://Futureoflife.org/Wp-Content/Uploads/2015/10/FLI_logo-1.Png, 2 Dec. 2021, https://futureoflife.org/lethal-autonomous-weapons-systems/.
5“A New Dawn.” The Evolution of Artificial Intelligence, https://www.ubs.com/microsites/artificial-intelligence/en/new-dawn.html.
6Perez, Sarah. “Microsoft Silences Its New A.I. Bot Tay, after Twitter Users Teach It Racism [Updated].” TechCrunch, TechCrunch, 24 Mar. 2016, https://techcrunch.com/2016/03/24/microsoft-silences-its-new-a-i-bot-tay-after-twitter-users-teach-it-racism/.
7Rohde, Klaus, et al. “Benefits & Risks of Artificial Intelligence.” Future of Life Institute, 29 Nov. 2021, https://futureoflife.org/background/benefits-risks-of-artificial-intelligence/.