Vivaan DudejaWednesday, February 22, 2023
Many of us dream about how artificial intelligence will one day revolutionize our lives, but should we even let that happen?
All technology comes with tradeoffs, and AI isn’t an exception. It can be used positively and negatively. Still, some believe that how we use it is not an immediate concern. But we are already seeing signs that it is!
In 2022, OpenAI launched a chatbot called ChatGPT. A chatbot is basically a computer program that uses AI and natural language processing to simulate human conversation by understanding questions and responding to them. ChatGPT was a milestone in AI development. According to users, conversing with the bot seemed like conversing with the smartest, most knowledgeable person who ever lived. The bot derives its answers from massive volumes of information from the Internet; it can make its own answers to questions by searching the web, and the results are impressive.
ChatGPT was originally meant to be an encyclopedia in your phone that could basically teach anything in a way an expert would. But today, instead of using it to learn, students are using it to write college essays and finish homework. ChatGPT is truly amazing and can be used positively, but it is being used negatively.
This raises the dilemma: Is AI bad or good for us?
It is estimated that most car accidents and plane accidents are at least partly caused by human error. Both types of accidents cause many human deaths. But AI could change that significantly by reducing the amount of human error. If we implanted AI into everything, driving and flying would become much safer. We could also reduce the number of accidents in healthcare, factories, and possibly even in space. Also, in the future, we could use AI to calculate the best stocks to invest in, perform surgery, create fair compromises between two opposing sides, analyze massive sets of data, create possible solutions to other complex problems, and much more! Companies could use A.I. to replace their human workforce as AI is more efficient, does not need breaks, and does not require a paycheck. And for those who are worried about unemployment rates skyrocketing, don’t worry: AI would provide new jobs improving and maintaining AI in facilities, and those jobs would have better security, since AI would become implemented widely throughout society and would need a massive work force to ensure that it works properly. These jobs would also encourage people to get an education in computer science so that they can apply for jobs in AI.
But AI does have its downsides. If it is to be implanted into our society, it could have negative effects in multiple arenas. One of them might even be education. As I mentioned before, services such as ChatGPT are being used by students to complete school assignments. As the technology advances, this problem could increase as A.I. becomes able to do much more than just write essays. If students get used to using AI in their daily lives, it will stunt growth in their minds. If students stop using their brains, how will their brain grow and develop? They will never learn, and if AI fails, they would be totally helpless. This is because of natural selection, an evolutionary process that basically discontinues traits and skills that are not needed in a species’ environment. Because of AI, we may just stop thinking for ourselves. Our skills and intelligence would decrease because they wouldn’t be as necessary, since we use AI to complete our tasks.
But that is not the only problem. AI can be used to physically harm others. If some countries are rich enough, they could use AI in their military. This would make their military almost unstoppable and would be unfair towards other countries who can’t afford to use AI that way. Also, if a terrorist were to get their hands on AI, they could use it to harm others, because AI can think like a human and act like a human but is dispensable, unlike a human.
At the end of the day, AI is power. But like the famous Spiderman quote that we all love and possibly hate, “With great power comes great responsibility.” How do we know that we as a species will decide to use AI responsibly?
The truth is that we can influence our decision by taking a few steps in the right direction right now. First, countries around the world need to meet up and all agree to regulate the use of AI in the military. But that is not enough. We also must educate future generations about the power of AI so that they don’t misuse it. In addition, we must understand that AI is not a replacement for education and that we must continuously learn how to think for ourselves. Finally, as AI takes over our world, skills in computer science and coding will become ever more necessary. We will need it to understand what we are using and how to control it. We will also need it to be able to access many jobs in the future. But to teach this, we need to make computer science one of the core classes in every school curriculum. If we don’t make learning about computers mandatory, people will never take it seriously.
AI truly is a double-edged sword, and there is no going back from the AI revolution. We must decide whether we will use it negatively or positively. And that decision is in your hands.
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