Benefits and Risks of Artificial Intelligence

Benefits and Risks of Artificial Intelligence


Published on: 10 Jul 2019

By Mahesh Krishnasamy

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Where is A.I.?

From self-driving cars to digital voice assistants, AI is progressing rapidly. While Hollywood tends to portray AI in the form of humanoid robots set to take over the world, AI actually encompasses a variety of different types of technologies from Google’s search algorithms to IBM’s Watson to Apple’s Siri.

The artificial intelligence popularly used today is known as narrow AI as it is designed to perform a narrow task such as facial recognition, internet searches or driving a car. A long-term goal for many AI researchers is to create a generic artificial intelligence that would outperform humans at nearly every cognitive task. There are grounded concerns for such a concept to exist in our world, and many social activists are pushing for AI policy and regulation.

What are the Risks of Artificial Intelligence

Keeping AI’s impact on society beneficial is the core objective for all researchers. When AI systems manage your power, security and military defense, then the stakes are much higher. It’s a relatively minor nuisance if your smartphone hangs or gets hacked as compared to an entire AI defense system getting hacked. In the near future, AI will control our cars and maybe even fly our airplanes. We wouldn’t want to be in a situation where we lose control of our AI ecosystem.

The creation of a super intelligent AI is a long-term goal for many researchers. If such an entity exists it may be able to synthesize medicines, prevent famines, and even eradicate poverty and war. But there are fears that such an AI may do more harm than good to humanity if it’s goals and intentions aren’t aligned with ours.

Autonomous AI weapon systems are also a growing concern for many. In the hands of the wrong people, these weapons could cause mass casualties. If an AI arms race is set off, we could be in big trouble especially if these weapon systems are difficult to “switch off”. Losing control of such a situation is plausible and has been expressed by many.

Elon Musk opined on this topic. “I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful with artificial intelligence. I am increasingly inclined to think there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out.”

So what are the benefits then?

There are many benefits to AI, and you may already be aware of the most common ones. As mentioned before, a lot of our smartphone applications are using AI to perform different tasks and have improved our lives. But since AI is a cocktail of computer science, mathematics, and other sciences, there are multiple benefits or uses for AI.

  1. Artificial Intelligence helps reduce mistakes
    Space travel isn’t easy and a small mistake could potentially wreak havoc in space. Since the precision in calculation needs to be so accurate, it’s best not to leave it to human beings. AI can help reduce error in the calculations related to space exploration. Intelligent robots are used to assess space debris and environments based on advanced AI algorithms.
  2. In the field of medicine
    Probably the most immediate benefit of AI is its use in the field of medicine. Medical professionals can assess their patients with the help of AI. Surgery can also be guided with artificial surgery simulators and neurological disorders can be tracked using AI algorithms.
  3. Any task that requires repetition and no breaks
    A lot of production tasks may require a repetition, the likes of which most human beings will not be able to perform. In the field of industrial manufacturing, complex AI algorithms are used to ensure that no errors are made during production and that the factory continues to create a massive amount of products without any breaks. It’s not physically possible for human beings to take on tasks such as these.
Mahesh Krishnasamy Mahesh Krishnasamy