Artificial Intelligence has real potential to change the world. We are already seeing its application in various industries, and the impressive results being delivered. However, like all useful technology, it has the potential for misuse. This article aims to cover the three main concerns surrounding AI and the problems it is currently facing.
Perhaps one of the biggest fears surrounding AI is unemployment. A large portion of the general public are concerned that AI will take their job in the future, leaving them without a trade to make a living. A good example is courier/delivery services. Companies like Amazon, UPS and DHL employ millions of drivers worldwide. The threat to these workers comes from autonomous vehicles, which are already being successfully utilised by companies like Uber and even Domino’s.
The main counter argument to these fears states that instead of taking people’s jobs, AI will work alongside current employees to make their lives easier.
Ensuring that AI is fair and considers all appropriate factors before making a decision is essential to its success. We mustn’t forget that humans create these algorithms, and they themselves are often biased on some level. A good example of bias in AI is Microsoft’s facial recognition technology. The system was designed to be integrated with products like phones, cameras and even security cameras. However, researchers at MIT found the system was particularly good at identifying white males, and often struggled identifying faces of people from ethnic backgrounds. Obviously this presents issues in productising the technology, as well as damaging the companies brand image. It is vital that companies train their systems using a well balanced pool of information, to ensure it works for everyone.
As briefly mentioned in the introduction, any AI system can be abused if it falls into the wrong hands. One good example is weaponry. Militaries around the world are weaponising AI, creating systems capable of causing a lot of damage with the press of a button. What happens if this technology is stolen or lost?
Another technology which could be misused is deep fakes. These systems can create images and videos of people artificially, similar to an animation, only a lot more realistic. There is a good example which you can see here, which ‘shows’ Barrack Obama making various rude statements, and is scarily realistic. Deepfakes are an AI which people are particularly concerned about, they have the potential to generate incredibly convincing fake news, and be very effective at producing misinformation.
It is clear we stand to gain a lot from Artificial Intelligence, however we must be incredibly careful when designing these systems, and deciding who has access to them.