The Problem of Advanced Artificial Intelligence

The concept of artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for decades with people pondering its philosophical implications the entire time. From the stories of Isaac Asimov in the 50s to modern television series like Westworld, humanity seems obsessed with both the potential and danger associated with sentient technology. And, unlike the prospect of flying cars, the discussion over AI is now more relevant than ever.

There are two primary camps in the debate over AI: the pessimists and optimists, which can be represented by folks like former presidential candidate Andrew Yang or MIT research scientist Lex Fridman respectively. Yang recently brought the idea of automation displacing American workers in the trucking industry into the national spotlight. Thinking that in the next 6-10 years, human truck drivers will begin to be slowly phased out. The ripple effect this could have on the economy is not to be understated. While this could potentially free up lots of people to pursue other interests and save some wear and tear on their bodies, this sunny disposition is eclipsed by the potential for mass unemployment, increased wealth inequality, increased substance abuse and mental health deterioration, etc.

Yang’s attempts to be proactive in solving a technologically driven issue is commendable, however, he is not an expert in the Artificial Intelligence field. Fridman, on the other hand is. He notes that Yang is ultimately correct, but that his timeline is off, and the change will be more gradual. The current state of AI systems is incredibly rudimentary, though, and while a machine may excel in one area, it is incompetent in almost every other. He thinks that fully autonomous vehicles are more like 20-30 years away because AI systems do not have the ability to perceive or reason with the physical world. This means that for a while at least, humans will still be involved, albeit in a limited way that could still have negative economic effects (something Yang would agree with).

Good news is that we are a long way off from a Terminator-esque doomsday scenario because AI systems do not possess the ability to learn from scratch outside of their areas of expertise. However, it is conceivable that if technology continues to improve exponentially as it has in the last 30 years, things could get dicey in the future. Regardless of the timeline or the degree in which artificial intelligence solutions are implemented, these looming issues are still worth pondering.

AI systems are already shaking up business and government entities alike and automation is already affecting the workforce. But whether the outcome is positive or negative lies squarely on our ability to foresee, act, and adapt to these impending developments. Luckily, humans, as opposed to machines, are still quite adept at navigating significant changes by doing just that, which is reason enough to believe that the problems associated with advanced AI systems will eventually be ironed out.

Share This Post:

This entry was posted in Latest News, Technology, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.