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Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humans

 Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humans


    Experts say the rise of artificial intelligence will make most people better off over the next decade, but many have concerns about how advances in AI will affect what it means to be human, to be productive and to exercise free will


    Digital life is augmenting human capacities and disrupting eons-old human activities. Code-driven systems have spread to more than half of the world’s inhabitants in ambient information and connectivity, offering previously unimagined opportunities and unprecedented threats. As emerging algorithm-driven artificial intelligence (AI) continues to spread, will people be better off than they are today?

    Some 979 technology pioneers, innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists answered this question in a canvassing of experts conducted in the summer of 2018.

    The experts predicted networked artificial intelligence will amplify human effectiveness but also threaten human autonomy, agency and capabilities. They spoke of the wide-ranging possibilities; that computers might match or even exceed human intelligence and capabilities on tasks such as complex decision-making, reasoning and learning, sophisticated analytics and pattern recognition, visual acuity, speech recognition and language translation. They said “smart” systems in communities, in vehicles, in buildings and utilities, on farms and in business processes will save time, money and lives and offer opportunities for individuals to enjoy a more-customized future.

    Many focused their optimistic remarks on health care and the many possible applications of AI in diagnosing and treating patients or helping senior citizens live fuller and healthier lives. They were also enthusiastic about AI’s role in contributing to broad public-health programs built around massive amounts of data that may be captured in the coming years about everything from personal genomes to nutrition. Additionally, a number of these experts predicted that AI would abet long-anticipated changes in formal and informal education systems.

    Yet, most experts, regardless of whether they are optimistic or not, expressed concerns about the long-term impact of these new tools on the essential elements of being human. All respondents in this non-scientific canvassing were asked to elaborate on why they felt AI would leave people better off or not. Many shared deep worries, and many also suggested pathways toward solutions. The main themes they sounded about threats and remedies are outlined in the accompanying table.

    AI and the future of humans: Experts express concerns and suggest solutions

    CONCERNS Human agency:

    Individuals are  experiencing a loss of control over their lives
    Decision-making on key aspects of digital life is automatically ceded to code-driven, "black box" tools. People lack input and do not learn the context about how the tools work. They sacrifice independence, privacy and power over choice; they have no control over these processes. This effect will deepen as automated systems become more prevalent and complex.

    Data abuse:

    Data use and surveillance in complex systems is designed for profit or for exercising power
    Most AI tools are and will be in the hands of companies striving for profits or governments striving for power. Values and ethics are often not baked into the digital systems making people's decisions for them. These systems are globally networked and not easy to regulate or rein in.

    Job loss:

    The AI takeover of jobs will widen economic divides, leading to social upheaval
    The efficiencies and other economic advantages of code-based machine intelligence will continue to disrupt all aspects of human work. While some expect new jobs will emerge, others worry about massive job losses, widening economic divides and social upheavals, including populist uprisings.

    Dependence lock-in:

    Reduction of individuals’ cognitive, social and survival skills
    Many see AI as augmenting human capacities but some predict the opposite - that people's deepening dependence on machine-driven networks will erode their abilities to think for themselves, take action independent of automated systems and interact effectively with others.

    Mayhem:

    Autonomous weapons, cybercrime and weaponized information
    Some predict further erosion of traditional sociopolitical structures and the possibility of great loss of lives due to accelerated growth of autonomous military applications and the use of weaponized information, lies and propaganda to dangerously destabilize human groups. Some also fear cybercriminals' reach into economic systems.

    SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS Global good is No. 1:

    Improve human collaboration across borders and
    stakeholder groups
    Digital cooperation to serve humanity's best interests is the top priority. Ways must be found for people around the world to come to common understandings and agreements - to join forces to facilitate the innovation of widely accepted approaches aimed at tackling wicked problems and maintaining control over complex human-digital networks.

    Values-based system:

    Develop policies to assure AI will be directed at ‘humanness’ and common good Adopt a 'moonshot mentality' to build inclusive, decentralized intelligent digital networks 'imbued with empathy' that help humans aggressively ensure that technology meets social and ethical responsibilities. Some new level of regulatory and certification process will be necessary.

    Prioritize people:

    Alter economic and political systems to better help humans ‘race with the robots’ Reorganize economic and political systems toward the goal of expanding humans' capacities and capabilities in order to heighten human/AI collaboration and staunch trends that would compromise human relevance in the face of programmed intelligence.


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