“Any AI smart enough to pass a Turing test is smart enough to know to fail it.”
Chances and Dangers of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (often referred to as AI) can be defined as an area of computer science that has the goal to create intelligent machines that can react and work like humans.
This includes the areas of problem-solving, learning, planning and speech recognition. AI can be regarded as breakthrough when it comes to machine intelligence on a level humanity has never seen before.
Artificial intelligence has the potential to change the environment in which we are living right now to a significant extent. A big fraction of standardized work will likely be carried out by machines instead of humans in the near future.
In the following, the fields of application, the advantages as well as dangers regarding AI are examined.
Fields of Application of AI
- Traffic control
- Video games
- Management decisions
AI plays a big role in the automotive industry since it is used for processes related to self-driving vehicles. The most prominent companies using artificial intelligence in the automotive industry are Google, Apple and Tesla.
However, there are many other car companies that use AI in order to develop sophisticated self-driving cars. As at 2019, self-driving cars are still viewed quite skeptical by the general public. This is due to the fact that people don’t want to lose control.
There have also been some accidents with self-driving cars. Therefore, self-driving cars are a big field of application for artificial intelligence, although there is still quite a lot of work to do until mass production of autonomous vehicles is possible.
AI can also play an important role in healthcare since it can be used to identify risk groups for certain diseases. Moreover, with the help of artificial intelligence, the development of a disease can be predicted more accurately and decisions regarding the treatment of these diseases can be made in a more effective manner.
As AI will become more sophisticated over time, it is possible that in the future, intelligent machines will be the most important source of information on how to treat a person, not the doctor’s knowledge.
It is common sense that AI will be much smarter than humans will ever be in just a few years. Using this knowledge can be thus quite effective when it comes to healthcare and the treatment of health issues.
AI in Finance, Economics and Banking can be used to detect frauds and other unpleasant behavior. Since AI is pretty good when it comes to logical reasoning, it can find irregularities in trading patterns or in cash flows better than any human could possibly do this.
Moreover, artificial intelligence not only prevents fraud, it can also be used to automize and make processes more effective. There is software that executes arbitrage trading autonomously since they detect small price differences across stock exchanges and try to exploit these differences in fractions of a second.
AI also has the potential to work in favor of governments or other official institutions to support surveillance purposes. Since AI is pretty good in pattern recognition, it could detect uncommon behavior and help effectively in the early-warning-processes regarding terroristic attacks or other harmful activities.
AI can also be used when it comes to traffic control. Traffic lights could be used more efficiently since AI could support in determining the optimal length of the green phase for each traffic light.
Moreover, AI could be used when it comes to decisions regarding new traffic lights. It may be able to figure out if a new traffic light is really necessary or if alternative methods would be the better choice.
Military actions are an important field of application for AI since they often involve a lot of planning to carry out these missions in an effective way.
The strategy of opponents has to be considered and also the dynamic changes of the situation has to be evaluated on a regular basis.
AI has the potential to do those tasks much better than humans since it has much more power regarding logical thinking.
AI can also be used for the purpose of advertisement. People and their reactions to advertisement can be predicted quite effectively through the use of AI.
Therefore, marketing budgets can also be used more efficiently and the costs for companies for acquiring new customers can be lowered with the help of artificial intelligence.
However, there are some regulations in place that prohibit companies from exploiting the data of people to a certain extent, making it harder to use AI for marketing purposes.
AI is also used in art. It can be used for visual art and other kinds of techniques. Certain algorithms are used in order to visualize art with the help of machine learning techniques.
The financial statements of big companies have to be audited by independent auditors. This audit firms can apply certain AI algorithms in order to be able to detect irregularities more effectively. For example, when analyzing a big company, there are so many isolated numbers that it is quite hard for auditors to find every mistake.
However, by using machine learning techniques, it would be possible to gain a better overall understanding of the numbers and to put figures in a bigger context. This means that with the help of AI, among others, plausibility checks would become much easier and much more sophisticated.
AI can also be used for the creation of sophisticated video games and simulations. Processes and the computing capacity can be enhanced. Moreover, AI may also give inspiration to developers what kind of games will be trendy in the near future.
Thus, companies using AI will be able to meet the consumer needs much better than companies refraining to use AI and will therefore have a big competitive advantage.
AI can also play an important role when it comes to management decisions in companies. Big companies are usually run quite inefficiently since there often is a conflict of interest between the different departments.
AI could determine more accurately how the budget for certain tasks should be increased or lowered without relying on egotistic tendencies. AI could also be used for making business strategy decisions since it would be able to take several strategic factors into account.
Advantages of Artificial Intelligence
- Sophisticated logical reasoning
- High calculation capacity
- Applicable to all kinds of important fields
- Tool for the prediction of future developments
- More efficient processes
- Error reduction
- Substitution of humans by machines in dangerous jobs
- Automation of repetitive tasks
- Medical and research progress
Sophisticated logical reasoning
Due to neural networks and machine learning, AI also displays chances for sophisticated logical reasoning skills. These reasoning skills are extremely powerful when it comes to problem-solving.
Since an AI can process much more data than any human would ever be able to process, it can find solutions to problems much quicker and with much more precision. Examples of logical reasoning from AIs is the application of neural networks to games like Chess and Go.
There is a chess engine called AlphaZero that has been developed by Google which is extremely powerful and which can beat any player on earth.
High calculation capacity
Artificial intelligence is able to calculate and process data with enormous speed since it implies a quite high calculation capacity. Due to the use of neural networks, it is able to find solutions to challenges quite fast and effectively. It is estimated that with the help of AI, the calculation capacities from conventional computers can be increased dramatically.
Since AI often involves self-learning processes which are carried out by computers, AI processes can be run 24/7. Computers do not need sleep or other time to recover.
They can be used for calculations and problem solving right when there is a use to do so. Therefore, AI has a high level of availability and can be applied to all sorts of problems whenever people need it.
Applicable to all kinds of important fields
As we have already seen in the previous analysis, AI can be applied to many different fields. This is due to the fact that AI is often not only based on knowledge, it rather calculates and develops its own solution to certain problems.
This skill for efficient problem solving is needed for all kinds of different industries in order to get a competitive advantage over competitors.
Tool for the prediction of future developments
Since AI can be seen as some kind of intelligent entity, it is likely that it can also be used for predicting the future and the need of people. This is especially important when it comes to decisions regarding infrastructure.
If decision-makers know how people want to live in the future, it is easier for them to supply this kind of lifestyle by building infrastructure accordingly. This makes government spending more effective and saves money that can be used for other purposes instead.
More efficient processes
AI can also help to identify inefficient processes and can contribute to find solutions for these processes. In many big companies, processes are usually quite inefficient since employees often put themselves first in case of conflicts between private and company interests.
Moreover, management decisions are often made due to egotistic behavior rather than on rational thinking. Therefore, AI has huge potential to identify and correct these inefficient processes.
With the help of artificial intelligence, errors caused by human behavior can be reduced to a certain extent. This could come in the form that after humans finish certain tasks, there is a computer program that can do efficient plausibility tests and identify errors that can be corrected by human actions. Therefore, efficient error management processes can be set up with the support of AI in order to reduce errors.
Substitution of humans by machines in dangerous jobs
There are some jobs that impose great dangers to human health. For example, firefighters are at great risk of dying in their jobs. Moreover, bomb disposal is also done by humans to a certain extent.
For these kinds of jobs, machines based on artificial intelligence could be a great help since they could replace humans for part of those dangerous tasks and therefore ensure the safety of humans.
Automation of repetitive tasks
Some jobs in companies that are carried out on a daily basis are quite boring since they only involve a minimum level of creativity and are often sole repetitions of certain steps. These jobs could be outsourced to intelligent machines in the near future.
Machines are often able to carry out repetitive tasks more efficiently than humans since they make fewer errors and can carry out these tasks much faster. Thus, AI may lead to a replacement of certain jobs currently carried out by humans by intelligent machines.
Medical and research progress
Medical progress relies on advances of research to a great extent. AI can contribute to advancements in research to a significant degree since it will be able to find solutions to problems that are almost impossible to solve for humans.
Moreover, since AI implies some kind of intelligence, it may be able to find solutions to problems that are not obvious and therefore would likely not be found by humans. Thus, AI can play an important role in medical improvements.
Dangers of Artificial Intelligence
- Dangers concerning military operations
- Privacy concerns
- Social profile generation
- Manipulation of elections
- Manipulation of our consumption behavior
- Loss of jobs
- Market manipulation
- Excessive power for a handful of companies
- Serious threat to humanity
Dangers concerning military operations
AI can be a great help when it comes to strategic warfare. However, there may be significant dangers related to AI in military operations. Since AIs do not have a sense of compassion, they may just carry out operations without taking care of human damage.
Moreover, autonomous weapons could be used with the help of AI. These weapons may pose serious threats to humanity since if they get out of control and unintentionally hit targets that were not meant to be attacked, this may be the starting point of serious wars.
With the help of AI, large amounts of data can be processed. This in turn makes many people worry about their privacy. Many cameras are used in public to observe potential threats.
However, the information of these cameras could be used to generate profiles of people in order to predict their behavior. This may lead to a state where the government can lead people to certain actions without people even realizing what happens to them.
Social profile generation
Not only governments and official institutions may be able to use people’s behavior for the generation of profiles, also social networks are likely to do so. People are sharing a lot of information on social networks regarding their preferences.
This information can be used with the help of AI to target specific audiences for advertisement or other purposes which give these companies an edge over the competition.
Manipulation of elections
AI may also be used in order to manipulate the outcome of elections. This manipulation is not likely taking place in the election process, but rather by influencing people in the period before the election. AI can be used to optimize election campaigns and also to disparage opposing candidates.
Manipulation of our consumption behavior
AI may also contribute to the manipulation of our daily behavior. This could mean that we are subconsciously forced to buy certain things that we actually do not need since stores may use subconscious signals to manipulate buying decisions of customers.
Although stores are already doing so even without the use of AI, artificial intelligence would improve this manipulation process significantly since AI would find the best subconscious advertisement strategy.
Loss of jobs
Many people are worried that AI would lead to a loss of jobs. Especially for jobs that are repetitive and do not need high levels of creativity, the replacement of humans with machines will become reality in the near future. An AI can simply carry out those tasks more efficiently and will also be much faster with fewer mistakes compared to humans.
Thus, AI will lead to the loss of many jobs. However, some people claim that AI may also lead to the creation of some new jobs since also AI-systems have to be maintained and programmed to a certain extent. We will see if AI really leads to a net loss of jobs in the future.
AI could also be used to manipulate stock markets. Since some service providers offer insights into the trading books, this information could be used to generate attacks on certain companies in order to get a financial advantage.
This could mean betting on failure of a financial institutions in times of financial distress. In turn, this could lead to a large financial burden that has to be borne by taxpayers in case a bailout is necessary.
Excessive power for a handful of companies
There are just a few companies that control the market of AI. For example, Google puts huge efforts in the development of intelligent machines.
Although this might put humanity forward in terms of technological progress, it could be regarded as quite unhealthy if only a handful of big companies control the powerful tools regarding artificial intelligence.
This gives these companies a huge competitive advantage and also a lead in knowledge compared to regulators which may be quite helpless since they are likely not able to understand the complex processes.
Serious threat to humanity
Some scientists and celebrities also claim that AI may become a serious threat to humanity. At some point, intelligent machines may reach a level of intelligence that might be sufficient to coordinate themselves and attack humanity which may lead to a destruction of humanity.
For example, Elon musk stated that “AI is a fundamental existential risk for human civilization” and claims that the development and use of AI should be regulated much more strictly.
Examples for Artificial Intelligence
- Google Maps
- Plagiarism checks
- Social networks
- Recommended products
- Strategy games
- Spam filters
- Credit decisions
- Fraud prevention
Uber uses AI-algorithms for the optimization of their processes. This may include the optimal choice of drivers and predictions on future demand for drivers. Moreover, customer satisfaction can be increased due to analyses based on AI.
Google maps determines the duration of a trip depending on the speed of movement and the traffic that is present at a street at any given point in time. Through constant learning, the time needed for certain distances can be measured quite accurately.
AI is also used in the flight industry. It is often used for actions performed by the autopilot. By using AI, the tasks carried out by autopilots can be increased and therefore the probability for human errors which may lead to crashes can be reduced.
AI can also be used for plagiarism checks. Since with the help of AI, it is possible to scan large amounts of data in a quite short period of time, it is quite useful for the detection of plagiarism.
Big social networks are also known to use artificial intelligence in order to improve the user experience but also to create profiles of people so that they can advertise to them in an efficient manner.
You can often see that products that are recommended to you on certain platforms match quite well the searches you carried out the days before. This is due to the fact that many platforms use your search queries to remarket to you in later stages.
AI can also help these platforms to create profiles regarding your preference so that they can predict your consumption behavior and use these predictions for future marketing efforts.
There are some tools that are able to convert voice into text. For example, Google provides a tool that can do this in a quite efficient manner with the help of AI algorithms.
There are several examples of complex games that can be played by machines in a quite advanced manner. For example, Google developed an artificial intelligence named AlphaZero which is able to defeat the best chess players in the world.
AI can also be used to improve spam filters. If the system continuously learns what features a spam email displays, it can improve the filtering process and thus make spam filters more efficient.
AI can be a great help for banks and other financial institutions for the decision if they should give a loan or not. There are several factors that affect a person’s probability of getting a credit. These factors can be weighted in an optimal way through the use of artificial intelligence quite effectively.
Fraud prevention is a big topic for the use of AI. Since for fighting fraud, large amounts of data have to be scanned, AIs can be quite helpful since they can do this screening process much more efficient than any human could.
Thus, fraud can likely be prevented much better in the future since weaknesses in the system may be closed with the help of artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence can be quite useful in many different fields of application. However, it also poses significant risks to humanity as well as on the whole environmental system.
There are many skeptics regarding the topic of artificial intelligence, including smart people like Elon Musk who claim that AI can be a serious threat to humanity.
Therefore, the development of artificial intelligence should be subject to a high level of regulation in order to prevent collateral damage but also to be able to benefit from the upsides of this fascinating technology.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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