Is Artificial Intelligence to be feared?

Artificial Intelligence is the main talking point of today’s generation. Many people fear AI and the implications it might have on human civilization. But are these fears justified? Read on to find out:

AI or Artificial Intelligence is a very controversial topic in today’s world. Some influential people like Mark Zuckerberg, the founder, and CEO of Facebook, have not only claimed that AI is the future but have also backed their claims by investing huge amounts of money and resources into developing revolutionary AI projects.

Even Bill Gates, the second richest person in the world and founder of Microsoft, said that if he were to start a company today it would revolve around AI technologies. On the other hand, people like Elon Musk, the billionaire founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, claim that AI is very dangerous for humanity’s future and should be left alone. It is clear that even the most influential people in the tech industry have varying views on the matter. But who is to be believed? The Elon Musks or the Mark Zukerbergs? Should we stay away from anything relating to AI or should we continue our efforts of developing it in hopes of it being used for humanity’s good in the future?

In order to answer these questions relating to the purpose of AI and its potential dangers, we must first understand what AI is and how it works.

Without going in too much detail of the complexities involved in AI, we can say that the two most basic components that make up the majority of AI’s functionality are machine learning and deep learning.

 Deep learning

Deep learning is the process of learning performed by machines that involves taking in large amounts of raw data and then using that data to figure out concepts and make decisions. Machines are given neural networks that are integral for deep learning. These neural networks are designed and programmed to imitate the networks connecting the human brain. The machine is able to use this large unfiltered data, that might be useless for people, to create patterns, that the average human brain might not be able to see, and then make decisions based on those patterns.

Machine learning

Machine learning allows machines to adapt to their environment without any explicit programming needed for them to do so. The idea is that machines learn, by themselves, which path to follow and what actions to perform through trial and error. They are able to automatically learn and improve from experience. This means that if a machine is given one task to complete, then it will, one by one, go through all the possibilities of completing that task, and if one fails then next time around it will know not to go for that particular possibility. This is how robots learn to walk, speak, and do all sorts of other human tasks.

Deep learning and machine learning are the fundamental concepts that differentiate AI machines form other normal machines. People are allowed to have different opinions about whether AI can be dangerous for us or not. Today, I will provide my own take on the matter, and it is one that is supported by not only the majority of professionals in the industry but also by large amounts of studies and reports on this matter.

AI is not a danger to humanity. Let me explain:

As you might have noticed from the definitions of deep and machine learning, both of these are processes that involve a lot of human involvement in the start. For machine learning, even though instructions are not needed later on, in the beginning, the machine needs to be programmed in such a way that it is able to handle and learn from its experiences.

Similarly, for deep learning, the conclusions that the machine makes for its decisions depend on the data that is provided to the machine. The machine does not have a brain of its own. If it is given data that will cause it to self-destruct, then it will act upon that data and go ahead with the self-destruction. It has no way of knowing what is good or bad for it.

This means that even though AI has some abilities that the normal machine does not possess, at the end of the day it does not have true intelligence since it cannot make decisions that go against the information that is provided.

People can program these machines to do bad things, but in this case, the machine is not to blame, rather the programmer is. There will always be good and bad people in the world. There will always be people who want to cause damage to others. AI can simply be a tool for these people, in the way a gun is. When an innocent person gets shot, we don’t blame the gun, rather we blame the person who fired the gun. Similarly, AI should not be blamed if it used for bad activities, the programmer behind it should.

And just like other illegal activities, there will be laws and rules governing the legal use of AI and, when the time comes, there will also be people who are able to deal with situations where things do get out of hand. Trust me, monitoring and policing AI is much easier and simpler than you might have been led to believe through Hollywood movies.

In conclusion, AI has too many good uses for the society for it to be discarded in fear of it turning against us. AI is simply a tool, and it depends on the person using this tool whether to use it for good or for bad purposes.