Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is a topic that, since the beginnings of computers, has come up time and time again. People seem to be fascinated at the idea that machines could perform tasks just as well or better than humans.

This year in particular has been particularly interesting already for artificial intelligence. Google just payed £400million for an AI research company, IBM is pouring $1billion into it’s newly branded Watson division, a movie about a man falling in love with an AI meets success, and Eric Schmidt warns that the Jobs problem will be ‘the defining one’. Why so much buzz about AI? In my opinion, I think it’s because artificial intelligence suddenly seems real to us as a people. We live in a world where computers beat humans at everything from chess to Jeapordy, a game that is uniquely human in so many ways.

Ethically, artificial intelligence is very interesting. In a world where tasks normally reserved for full time employees can be automated, it creates questions of morality. For instance, is it ethical to replace somebody with a machine? What if that machine could perform this task more accurately and safely. However, without that task to perform a worker may have trouble finding employment. Without employment, the worker contributes to a global trend of growing economic inequality.

AI is interesting stuff. Looking forward to comments.


One Response to Artificial Intelligence

  1. I feel the major downside to AI is the fact that people would lose their jobs. All other aspects of having machines do everything is near perfect. They would do it faster and more precisely. Results would also be consistent and if an error is found, it can be fixed internally. A solution to the jobs problem could be making the workers maintain the machine that replaced them. All machines need maintenance so companies could hire people to make sure that the machines don’t fail.
    Now I say “near perfect” because the one thing machines cannot replicate is our emotions and feelings. There are jobs that involve spur of the moment judgement calls that a machine may not be able to properly make. An example of this are military drones. They are not fully automated; rather they are operated remotely which ensures that there is no need for pilots to be in danger. The reason that these drones cannot be fully automated is because there are decisions that a machine cannot simply make. For example, a drone could be flying over a village where a target is fleeing. The drone would be programmed to eliminate the target but it would not be able to differentiate between enemies and civilians. It would not hesitate to attack regardless of the innocent lives that would be lost. A person controlling the drone could be able to delay the attack until the target was more isolated.
    All in all, the integration of AI into society would have to be limited to make sure that we do not just become replaced by robots. They would have to be designed to require human input and maintenance to ensure that hard working individuals still have a valuable role in society.