Artificial Intelligence has Technologists Worried
Humans would fail to exercise their cognition under the radar of Artificial Intelligence

Platforms, tools, and applications based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) has witnessed dramatic growth during 2018. Its effects can be witnessed not only in software and the internet but also across various verticals such as healthcare, manufacturing, automobile, and agriculture. In today’s world, AI has become the most sought-after technology, helping create an ecosystem cohabitated by humans and machines. However, many technologists are worried that its negative effects are being increasingly downplayed by the large tech corporations that help develop it. In fact, according to the latest survey conducted by Pew Center Research, about 37% of technologists believe that advances in AI and related technologies won’t improve our lives in the forthcoming decade.

More than 979 developers, business executives, and policy leaders participated in the survey – ensuring that the results capture the sentiments of people across all spectrum instead of one biased individual group. The most prominent reason why technologists are worried captures the basic human sentiment – that as AI starts making more and more decisions, we humans will lose control over our lives. Most AI is marketed as a black box tool, ensuring that its customers have no idea regarding the errors, biases and false logic in the training of the model. Only when the AI application starts showcasing results that are less intelligent than humans, would we seek an answer to that question. By that time, it would be too late. About 39% cited the failure of AI in a mission-critical or life-and-death situation as one of their fears.

Reservations about using AI are also prominent across several verticals. More than 20% ranked “cybersecurity vulnerabilities” as a key issue in AI development and adoption, while 43% rated “making the wrong strategic decisions based on AI/cognitive recommendations” as among the top three. The cognitive capability of humans have developed over thousands of years, and failing to exercise them would mean losing humanity in the grand scheme of things. The participants of the survey said they were concerned humans might sacrifice their independence, right to privacy, and power over choice because of the “perceived advantages” to be gained with AI.

That being said, AI has definitely advanced to match or exceed human intelligence in tasks such as complex decision-making, reasoning, analytics and pattern recognition, speech recognition, and language translation. In healthcare, AI will soon play an important role in diagnosing and treating patients; and perform repetitive, monotonous tasks in business currently undertaken by humans. While those sorts of labor market shifts will increase the GDP of a nation and its net economic benefits, several jobs demanding “low digital skills” will become obsolete. In the future, the market will prefer people who are not skilled in a task but has the ability to develop a robot that can do that job.

AI is moving at a breathtaking pace, as chip manufacturers develop specialized chips that speed up the execution of AI-enabled applications. The year 2019 is poised to be when the Internet of Things (IoT) meet AI, deploying trained models at the edge. While such technologies will reduce human dependency on a lot of tasks, the intrinsic human ability to think and figure solutions to complex conundrums would be snatched away.