The Fear of A.I. Technology and its Capabilities


The Appalachian Online

Christian George

In the past 50 years, it seems like there has been 500 years of technological advancement.

The greatest development within technology has been the development of AI, or artificial intelligence.

AI is the simulation of human behavior through machines. This is found in everyday life, like with the use of GPS and within the programming of characters found in video games.

This technological advance has profound social consequences. More than just being a technology, AI has become a representation of dependency humans have on technology.

Increasingly, humans have less of a need to strive to become better and learn new things because technology has been and will be there to complete tasks for us.

Many push away the notion of dystopian societies where technology completely replaces humans, but there is evidence that this type of future is possible.

Many people and organizations rely heavily on AI in everyday life right now. AI technology is taking on more tasks, even simple ones, and leaving humans with less work. This both benefits and hinders our development.

It makes tasks like driving without having to read a map easier, but it also takes away a person’s control in situations by relying on it.

It is also replacing the workforce more each day. A report from the World Economic Forum in January estimated that more than 5 million jobs will be lost in leading economies over the next five years.

Even within classrooms, online programs are being used to teach students, slowly taking away one-on-one interaction between the student and educator. This is only ingraining the dependency on technology within learning minds.

Scientists, philosophers and other thinkers have also raised questions about the potential affects of AI technology. The term “AI anxiety” was used in a Washington Post article to describe the apprehension some thinkers have about the future of AI.

Philosopher Nick Bostrom suggests one thought experiment of how AI might be harmful.

Suppose an AI is given a task, such as creating paperclips. Its programming could be such that it would not rest until everything is turned into a paperclip. It will have hyper intelligence, but will not experience emotion, thus giving it the propensity to not care about harming humans.

While an AI obtaining its own consciousness may not be as drastic as seen in the movie “Terminator,” the reality may be more like the movie  “Eagle Eye.” In that film, an AI takes over all of the world’s surveillance and technology, becoming hyper intelligent. That may be a possibility for the future.

With the ever-increasing reliance on technology, humans have to create a balance with the amount of technology that is integrated, or they may be replaced altogether.

If this process goes unchecked, humans will slowly go through a process of regression and actually devolve because of the power of technology.

It will take away the spirit within man to create and innovate because AI will do it for them.

A hierarchy will be made of those who know how to create this technology on top, which is becoming increasingly smaller, and those who use the technology, which has risen in previous years.

AI will evolve further than humans will be able to, and be able to support themselves without intervention.

The general consensus on how to fix this issue is to control the advancement and make sure the AI stays on the side of man.

Technological business magnates like Bill Gates and Elon Musk have warned about machine intelligence, and have even donated money to the research to keep it under control.

As we enter into this new era of human history, we all need to do what we can to ensure that human beings always control the technology.

George, an Education-Secondary Education major from Indian Trail, is an opinion writer.