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Risks of Artificial Intelligence: What does the Future Look Like?

CITATION: “© [Sarah Holmlund] / Adobe Stock”

Technology is the main driver of modern progress, whether it be in revolutionizing travel or updating simple mechanisms such as lights and home appliances. But with artificial intelligence, it seems, all the rules of the past are now called into question. There is so much we have yet to discover about these so-called “thinking” machines, and savvy leaders (and even some veritable geniuses) such as Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking balk at the vast risks of artificial intelligence.

The Possible Dangers of Artificial Intelligence

  1. Global Warfare.
    Elon Musk, one of the most vocal critics of AI, concludes that much of the public is not privy to the speed at which AI is advancing and the profound perils that it poses. There are many scenarios in which ill-intentioned groups may program AI software to eliminate obstacles or sadistic regimes that can wield it to destroy political opponents. This technology may endanger billions of lives and it is likely that AI may replace nuclear weapons as the largest global threat to civilization.
  2. Social Surveillance.
    Big-name tech companies such as Google and Facebook have already had their share of media fervor over privacy debacles. But so far, any concerns the public have over privacy are dwarfed by these companies’ relevancy (some would say necessity) in our lives. AI stands to inflate this problem by increasing the stakes on surveillance and documenting conduct outside of online chat rooms and social media. China’s social credit system is a prime example of this phenomena—China monitors the behavior of all its citizens and assigns rankings. One can be either rewarded or punished for a high score, and the scores fluctuate. However, job prospects for poor scorers are slim—like those who smoke, have poor driving habits, etc.—and to many observers, is quite an unsettling state of affairs.
  3. Loss of Jobs.
    AI will likely take over certain jobs, including manual labor and others requiring little intellectual input. Some argue that with the automation of the 20th century, AI will actually generate more jobs than it destroys. But the question still remains—who will those jobs be best suited for? AI threatens to obliterate almost 69% of the job market for the poor and uneducated, which is exactly who stands to lose to an AI-centered job market. There is plenty of research to support how marginalized blue-collar workers are already affected by automation, a problem which AI may exacerbate.

Written by Logan Voss

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