Implications: Why Create Artificial Intelligence?


Even though artificial intelligence may have positive outcomes, why create it if it has the possibility of being as destructive as some scientists predict?  Some scientists firmly believe that these "creatures" would not be as malicious towards humans as humans are towards animals.  Is this a risk worth taking?  According to scientist Hubert Dreyfus, it is not worth considering the negative implications because there is only a remote possibility that artificial intelligence will be dangerous.

This does not seem to be a responsible position to take.  If humans have the power to analyze and think before acting, then it should be done.  History demonstrates the error of humans very clearly.  The bombing of Hiroshima is a prime example of how the use of technology was not explored in advance for its potential repercussions.  Atomic energy, not meant for mass destruction by scientists who invented it, was abused by those who did not understand the capabilities of the new technology.  Artificial intelligence, if not carefully analyzed, could have negative outcomes.

Positive Outcomes

Many positive outcomes in our society can result with the use of artificial intelligence.  Increased production and indirectly lowered costs have already been witnessed in factories and production lines.  Jobs better suited for computers have decreased errors and increased efficiency.  One example of this is with detecting credit card fraud.  American Express has developed an "Authorization Assistant" that uses artificial intelligence to determine whether a purchase is out of character for a card member.  This system is more accurate than when done by a human and it saves time.  This and many infinite other possibilities exist for using artificial intelligence to increase efficiency.

Artificial intelligence is also being pursued to replace humans in dangerous situations.  Not only can they withstand radioactive elements but they also work better in places where there is confined space and little oxygen to breathe.  This replacement will eliminate unwarranted deaths due to potential accidents and unsafe conditions.

Another important area that artificial intelligence is projected to improve concerns the lives of the elderly.  Because of the demand for adults to be fully involved in their work, the care for the elderly at home has diminished.  Now the numbers needing nursing care has risen.  The desire for these individuals to be independent can no longer be met and the elderly will have to live in a nursing home.  Artificially intelligent robots are an attempt to rectify this problem.  If a spouse passes away, the widowed spouse, while perhaps not fully independent, may no longer have to seek help in a nursing home.  Now a robot can oversee the individual and help with tasks too difficult for the person on their own.  As a whole, society will begin to change.  Menial tasks done by humans will no longer need attention and time can be spent doing more constructive things.  The systems run by artificial intelligence will be more accurate then ever, thereby increasing the level of trust in making certain decisions.  Lives can be lived more fully.  Perhaps years from now people will look back, much like individuals today look back at progress, and ponder how unnecessarily difficult their lives used to be.

Negative Outcomes

Along with any progress in technology are negative outcomes as well.  Because computers are more capable of producing accurate results, they will potentially replace humans in jobs that are better suited for them.  This could mean that the workplace will no longer be man's domain.  Unemployment rates could go up.  Humans could soon lose their ground as dominant creature.  Most drastic of possibilities is complete destruction of the human race.  If artificial intelligence at the level of Moravec's Fourth Generation Robots is created, these machines will have a "mind" of their own and could potentially annihilate humanity.

At a more basic level, the use of artificial intelligence in everyday tasks might produce laziness on the part of humans.  Mentality might become; "if the computer can do it why should I waste my time trying it myself?"  Humans have an extraordinary ability to think, analyze, and use judgment.  If artificial intelligence is used for interpreting, then the human mind and its capabilities might go to waste.

Another issue that might stir conflict is the need to restructure the legal system.  If artificial intelligence is as planned, a thinking human-like robot with feelings and emotions, then the laws would need to be altered encompassing the roles of robots in society.  Would they be responsible for their actions?  Will they have the same rights as humans?
 


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This document was created April 19, 1998 and last modified on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 17:34:10.
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