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What Are the Benefits and Risks of Artificial Intelligence?
For a long time, humans have had this dream of creating a machine that could make decisions independently. We did achieve this dream but only on the silver screens.
The reality is pretty different, and although we are making quick progress, we are still far from creating a fully sentient machine. Right now, we have surrounded ourselves with “weak AI” or “narrow AI”; AIs which carry out simple tasks by themselves with high efficiency. The perfect examples of such AIs are Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa.
The idea of Artificial Intelligence has always been shrouded with doubts and suspicions. While some believe Artificial Intelligence will benefit humans, others think AI development will only mean humanity’s end.
Before we discuss the benefits and risks of Artificial Intelligence, let’s find out more about AI.
Today, AI is present in self-driving cars and personal assistants, which help you carry out your daily chores. While the fiction world shows AI as a robot or machine with human-like characteristics, AI consists of anything from search engines to autonomous weapons to IBM’s Watson.
Today, experts have categorized Artificial Intelligence as narrow AI since it performs specific tasks like only internet searches or only drives a car. This is the early development stage with experts working on creating general AI: An AI that would not just play chess games but match a human or outperform them in most cognitive tasks.
Why is there a sudden push for AI safety?
Big names like Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk, among others, have publicly expressed their concerns through the media and open letters about AI and its risks. They have all been backed by leading AI experts in the field. But the questions are; Why a sudden rejection of AI, and why is it making the headlines only now?
The idea of AI supremacy was only thought to be possible long into the future. But during the last five years, AI has achieved significant milestones, making experts believe the era of superintelligence will come sooner than later.
2015 Puerto Rico Conference saw most AI researchers suggesting that human-level AI will appear before 2060. It means AI-safety research is becoming a hot topic, and there is an urgency to start it right away.
Benefits of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence relies on machine learning algorithms to execute tasks and solve problems. Some of the benefits Artificial Intelligence offers are:
AI-enabled machines can perform monotonous and repetitive tasks with better efficiency than humans. These machines can prevent human errors with high accuracy every time they complete a task. On top of it, these machines can operate round-the-clock, unlike humans. It means businesses can save on hiring and training two different staff (day and night) for the same job.
AI specialists are constantly working on teaching AI-powered machines to solve complex problems and tasks with accurate results. With their high accuracy, these machines can be deployed to perform delicate tasks like those in the medical field. Robots can be programmed to accurately detect particular conditions in a human body and carry out critical surgeries.
Reduced operation and training costs
Like we mentioned before, AI depends on machine learning, such as neural networks and Deep Learning. These algorithms help AIs learn new things like humans. It eliminates the need for programmers to write new codes every time we want to teach them new things.
Once we can develop machines that can optimize their machine learning abilities to learn new processes faster, we can lower the business budget significantly. The cost of training machines will be much lower than training humans for the same job. Machines can also lower operational costs since they will provide better efficiency and accuracy.
One of the biggest benefits of deploying AI-powered machines is gathering extensive data from their work. These data can help us study processes with quantitative analysis and devise a way to optimize them further.
Here are the risks that many tech gurus and industrial experts fear:
Advanced AI machines use computers with high computing powers that, in turn, run on several powerful processors. Manufacturers use Selenium as the primary raw material to make these processors. Meanwhile, battery manufacturing requires Lithium as the key component. Both Selenium and Lithium are rare earth metals, and their increased mining causes irreversible damage to the environment.
As task-performing capabilities of machines increase, they are quickly replacing manpower in major industries. Some of these industries are manufacturing, where businesses prefer machines over humans for improved outcomes and reduced cost.
Threat to humanity
Elon Musk, one of the founding members of Tesla and SpaceX, considers AI to be the biggest threat to humanity in the coming future. And he’s not the only one; Stephen Hawking has expressed his disapproval of AI and its application throughout his career.
Currently, AI powers several processes in most industries, including the finance and banking sector. Banks’ identity verification process for the customer and employee onboarding relies on Artificial Intelligence to gather data and make critical decisions. Companies like iDenfy.com are constantly working to better their technology and develop AI-powered identification tools to fight cybercrimes.