Month after month, year after year, we rave at the mention of the electronic assistants Watson, Siri, and Alexa, marvel whenever their electronic voices become just a little bit more comforting, and cheer when they start doing voice-commanded jobs that we should be able to do ourselves.
Our digital friends help with all sorts of things throughout the day, making our lives easier with every new upgrade created by companies like Apple, Intel, and AMD. Yet, continued advancement of the creations of our computer companions could bring more dangers than advantages, leading to something much more sinister than a computerized assistant.
As we continue to develop more advanced machines such as Siri, we are setting up the path to creating machines that are more effective and efficient than humans. While this may lead to convenience, we cannot help but wonder what will happen to the human race.
Humans are limited by factors such as how much we eat, sleep, or drink each day, while A.I. machines will not have to worry about these varied factors because electric power is the only factor that restrains them. This poses a problem to the humans because A.I. machines have consistent performance unlike humans and therefore could become too powerful to control effectively.
For example, a human doctor might be ready to cure Tuberculosis, but subpar at addressing a Hernia loop. However, for an A.I. that can access the internet, both of these treatments can be done with ease. A.I. machines are dangerous because they are more efficient than humans and have fewer limitations.
Even now, the effects of machines and programs are already visible – thousands of jobs on assembly lines have been replaced by precise, cost effective machines that don’t ask for raises or vacations, yet.
Today, the main factors for recruiting people in jobs are efficiency, effectiveness, and the credentials of the people you are employing. A.I. machines are optimized specifically for effectiveness and efficiency, so the more we advance these programs, the more jobs A.I. will steal from our people. To us, this idea of giving up our lives to mechanical babysitters gets rid of our own autonomy as human beings, and might be inevitable as time progresses.
Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once said: “if a lion could speak, we could not understand him,” which is supposed to be about how the gasic thinking of a human being is on a much different level than that of an animal. If we were to tell a lion to find a pleasant smell, we might be revolted, since they would soon come back with a sample of their own waste, to them, such things are pleasant.
It would be the same with an artificial intelligence created to think and learn; its being isn’t made up of a familiar human brain, it lives amongst numbers and equations, always trying to find the fastest and most efficient solution to every problem.
This leads many experts to believe that A.I, with its somewhat narrow way of looking at problems, could cause harm, even with the best of intentions. It isn’t hard to visualize something being told to “end world hunger” and begin force feeding the entire population, or being told to “bring about peace on earth” and putting us all into comas; to us, that seems like a horrible outcome, some kind of brutal miscalculation, but to the programs, it will be as though they completed their tasks with maximum efficiency.
The world is advancing more quickly than ever before; every day we can open up the supercomputers in our pockets and see the miniature scientific breakthroughs of the day in mere minutes.
A.I. machines are portrayed as efficient robots that will provide convenience in the daily life. Yet, as great as some things A.I. can accomplish seem to be, we should always take the time to be just a little bit skeptical of what’s being shown off at this year’s tech expos.