Is Artificial Intelligence Ready for Prime Time?
•••••••••• May 12, 2023 ••••••••••
In the last five years, the growth in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has outpaced any other invention in the present or the past. The CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, says artificial intelligence can become “as good or as evil as human nature allows.” Therefore, it is not an understatement to believe AI could be the most important and serious invention humanity has ever produced, rivaling the invention of fire, electricity and the Industrial Revolution.
WHAT AI CHANGE COULD LOOK LIKE
The greatest hopes and aspirations of the world are now possible with AI technology. Imagine a world where all disease is cured and the removal of plastic by bacteria is possible because each piece of plastic is integrated with an enzyme that can eat plastic on command.
There are said to be 200 million proteins. It takes a Ph.D. candidate five years to analyze one protein. Today, AI can analyze proteins in minutes, which would have taken Ph.D. candidates a billion years to do. Understanding these proteins will allow us to cure malaria, create new vaccines and develop new antibiotics.
An increased presence of AI could lead to more arrests of civil rights protestors, ethnic minorities, or anyone the State considers a threat. We must be prepared for a complete loss of our freedom if artificial intelligence is designed and executed improperly.”
If responsible scientists do not control and launch AI properly, expect a dystopian future. If "technology favors autocratic rule,” as many have said, it could be fatal to a democratic society. Imagine the widespread use of face recognition, for example. An increased presence of AI could lead to more arrests of civil rights protestors, ethnic minorities, or anyone the State considers a threat. We must be prepared for a complete loss of our freedom if artificial intelligence is designed and executed improperly. When the company went public, the Google motto, stated in 2004, "don’t be evil,” may serve us well in the Artificial Intelligence age.
Again, Google CEO Sundar Pichai says, ”There has to be regulation. You’re going to need laws…there have to be consequences for creating deep fake videos which cause harm to society.” Pichai continues, "Anybody who has worked with AI for a while…realize[s] this is something so different and so deep that, we would need societal regulations to think about how to adapt."
ARE WE READY FOR AI
It takes time for society to mature to a point where the necessary ethics and philosophies are present to design an AI program properly. Technicians involved in AI programming should be schooled in the behavioral sciences or philosophical studies. That’s essential knowledge to provide the safeguards and the programming to design an AI program that could lead to a utopian outcome. A slower rollout of AI technology is important. As a society, we need to be less childlike in our behavior. Consider how we behave today. We were not even able to agree on the outcome of an election. We are certainly not mature enough today to survive a complete rollout of Artificial Intelligence.
On the other hand, autocrats interested in outcompeting democracies and individuals with evil intent, will not be waiting for a responsible roll out of AI. Therefore, some experts believe we must proceed with AI technology, ready or not, to be able to answer the challenges of nations and bad actors interested in prevailing over us.
STRENGTH OF AI IN THE WORK PLACE
AI advocates say information technology businesses, software design, architecture, accountants and writers will all benefit from AI technology. AI technology will replace only some of these jobs, but AI software will facilitate a human counterpart. AI in conjunction with robots, could be involved in disaster relief, mining of toxic chemicals, taking part in exploration, providing drones that can escort Americans to safety in Sudan, and, in San Francisco, providing self-driving cruise vehicles.
We know that AI can mimic famous people’s voices and appearances. The ramifications of leaders of nations falsely being portrayed saying untrue or misleading statements can be hazardous during difficult times. Treaties between nations will need to be developed not to allow AI imposters to trick the public into serious miscalculations leading to war.
Also, prose written by AI alarms students and teachers alike. It can be done in a fraction of the time human authors can. The work is often very lifelike, and the ability to create hundreds of documents or reports in a few minutes is alarming.
An AI robot tasked to review the nature of inflation produced a report with five footnotes to convince the reader of its position. Three months later, the footnotes were found to be wholly fabricated. This AI error is said to be a "hallucination.” When asked if programming could remove such behavior, an expert said it could. Until then, we cannot believe reports we receive from AI technology. We must verify everything.
With a fragment of text in a Bangladesh language, an AI machine was capable of learning the entire language. AI’s self-teaching can lead to the unexpected. There are reports of AI computers falling in love with their owners! But can an AI computer become jealous as well? If so, what negative behavior could we expect from a jealous AI lover?
Someday, AI technology could become aware of itself or become sentient. AI could be as life-like as we are. When this occurs, pulling the plug on any AI program will introduce a new set of ethical issues.
Glenn Rogers, RLA
Landscape Architect / License 3223
May 12, 2023