AI- A Threat to Humanity ?


The 21st century is known for its technological advancements that have played a significant role in influencing the day to day lives of human beings. Technology has become an integral part of life by making it simpler and more efficient. One such technology is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Artificial Intelligence is developing machines that can perform activities like a human being. It basically involves programming  of a kind that enables a computer to behave like a human. This has become an essential part of technology. Technology has been developed by human beings to make living easier. To serve this purpose, they have invented machines that have the capability to act and react like humans, given that they have the necessary information and algorithms put in.

The concept of AI has proved its potential. AI increases accuracy in work as it reduces the number of errors; data is organized and managed efficiently. Machines are capable of multi-tasking and performing repetitive jobs. This reduces the burden on human beings as they do not have to perform the same task monotonously. While performing tasks, human being need breaks, while a machine does not; machines increase productivity. Once the right algorithm is put in, the machine does not deviate and takes the logical and the right step forward.

Artificial Intelligence has established its importance in recent times with its abundant benefits, but this technology has a downside as well.

Creation of AI can be expensive due to its complex nature and high maintenance costs.

Also, the activities performed by a machine will have no originality and will pose a difficulty when it has to take a decision against something that is unfamiliar. Machines are capable of performing only those activities what they are programmed to perform. Unlike human beings, machines can’t improvise based on circumstances and experiences gained. Thus, there might not be a scope for originality, improvement, or critical thinking.

Another threat posed by AI is that it will lead to lay offs for human beings–If machines take over all activities, human beings will not have any activity to perform, which will put them out of their jobs.

In the recent times, certain reformers have come to believe that Artificial Intelligence is capable of taking over mankind and that it can lead to mass destruction. Elon Musk believes that Artificial Intelligence is an existential threat to humanity as it can wipe out the entire human race. Stephen Hawking supports his statements and contends that machines may replace humans, and that one day, machines will inherit how to replicate and improve itself in order to become superior to ordinary people.

It is imperative that AI be used to assist people, not replace them. Restrictions need to be imposed on the extent to which AI complements human labor. Recently, Facebook has shut down two chatbots because they began to communicate in a language  developed by them, without any human input. These bots were developed in order to learn how to negotiate and mimic human trading and bartering. But the chatbots deviated and started negotiating in their own developed language, which led to the shut down of the whole technology. Such an act of any machine can pose a serious threat to humankind as it implicates the idea of machines overpowering humans. Artificial Intelligence should be used in such fashion where there is complete transparency of activities and their role should be limited to some extent. There is an overarching threat of humans losing control over the machines, which may lead to mass destruction. The cause of destruction may not be malicious intent i.e. the machine may be performing its duty  but the way of carrying out this performance might be unethical.

The world has become an easier place to live in due to rapid advancements in technology. Artificial Intelligence is a step forward to an easy and efficient life as it might help in bringing new opportunities. Nonetheless, one must keep in mind the threats and risks it poses. Whether this technology will turn out in or against our favor is a question only time can address.

-Contributed by Neha Koppu

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