Artificial Intelligence has been growing incredibly fast in recent years. And its influence in our lives has also grown with it. It has been shaping our daily lives and practices. AI has been highly influential in even the smallest of ways in our society. When you get a film recommendation from Netflix or another streaming platform, when you unlock your phone with Face ID, or even talk to a chat bot, these are all practices that use AI and we might not realise it. However, it has been argued that AI has an ethical impact on our societies and is not without its dangers.
What are the positives of AI?
Artificial Intelligence has been great for innovation and economic growth. The McKinsey Global Institute has conducted a study that has shown that can add 6% or around US$13 trillion by 2030 to current worldwide economic output. This is an undeniable growth that will only benefit us. AI has been arguably the fundamental driver of future development. While there are some things to work out, it will nonetheless be economically beneficial for our society.
It has also been seen that AI has improved medical research. AI has been helping doctors diagnose patients more accurately and develop wireless monitoring devices. Researchers at an Oxford hospital have developed an AI that predicts heart disease and they have found that 80% of the cases, the technology performed better than doctors in predicting cardiovascular diseases. AI can read data and analyse it. They can recognise abnormal cell growth, and detect cancers. There can be no doubt that AI has reached every aspect of our society, and sometimes outperforms the most decorated doctors.
However, AI has not been influential in just medicine and the economy. For example AI provides governments and officials enhanced opportunities to fight crime and terrorism. It can track illicit money flows to catch crime networks that work globally. AI has also been used to fight pollution and climate change. But these are not the only aspects that AI has been involved with. From agriculture to education, AI has been implemented in every aspect of society. AI technologies make it quicker and easier for individuals to perform the tasks of their daily lives. It is incredible how far we have been impacted by AI and how little it has disturbed our lives. We can only assume that it will continue that way. There is little doubt anymore that AI is part of our future.
We have to be wary of AI
It is true that AI has infiltrated our daily practices for the better. But it can’t be denied that Artificial Intelligence doesn’t come without its drawbacks. An example that will probably hit close to home with a number of students is the use of an algorithm to determine A-level grades in the Summer of 2020. The algorithm used by the government failed many students. Nearly 40% of students received grades lower than they had anticipated. This sparked controversy and public outcry. While this is not physically life threatening, many students missed out on the grades they deserved and didn’t get what they needed for their course at university. We need to beware of certain AI practices. It might seem like they are saving us time in our daily lives but they can also cost us time.
Furthermore, certain hiring AI’s can be biased, preferring white males over minority groups, because of the information it is fed. Artificial Intelligence has entered our society in full force. We can argue that it’s a positive thing, saving us time. However, research has determined that low and middle income workers are most likely to be negatively impacted by Artificial Intelligence. A silly example can be taken from Roald Dahl, where Charlie’s father gets laid off after the company invests in machines that put the caps on top of toothpaste tubes. Even fiction predicted that those in the hardest jobs will loose out to machines. While AI can seem like a great innovation, we have to be wary of some of its potential consequences.
There is no doubt that AI has many uses, that can enhance our daily lives. However, AI is still rather new. There is a fear of the unknown and we must be wary of it. AI should be trusted, but we should be careful how far we trust it. However, countries around the world are starting to regulate AI and put in place rules that would improve our usage of Artificial Intelligence.