“Artificial intelligence is the new Electricity”
Since 2014, progress in the field of artificial intelligence has been quite rapid. In today’s world, we can find AI ingrained in almost every aspect of our lives, classrooms, offices, and, most significantly, our phones.
Even though we’re still a bit far from creating a super-intelligent system that would surpass human intelligence, let me remind you, it just takes one breakthrough to get there.
Our evolution was fast-tracked by virtually nominal changes in our minds, which led to the growth of scientific discoveries, experiments, and technology; with scientists and experts working tirelessly for the furtherance and evolution of Artificial intelligence, we can expect to have phones who not only understand us perfectly but also go out of their way to accommodate and satisfy our needs.
Any further evolutionary changes in our brains can lead to significant consequences.
In its natal stages, AI was just limited to following commands put in a box, and the output was not extraordinarily different from the input, but there has been a real paradigm shift since then.
The algorithms created these days can be compared to human infants in terms of learning from raw perceptual data, instead of following a set of directions; they can renew themselves on their own. These algorithms have also learned to improvise when required.
Even after all this development, there are still certain tricks up the sleeve of the human cortex that we have not been able to replicate in machines, the daunting question here is- “how far are we from replicating them in machines?”
The Birth of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence was extensively portrayed in sci-fi films and novels in the first of the 20th century in the form of caricaturish robots. The birth of AI as an actual scientific theory was in the latter half of the 20th century when the legendary Alan Turing questioned why can’t machines use the available resources, information, as well as reason to make decisions and solve problems if humans could do it.
This was the skeleton for his paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence, which he wrote in 1950. In the paper, he elaborated on how to build intelligent machines and how to put their Intelligence to the test.
Unfortunately, at that time, neither did there exist the funds required to actualize this nor did the computers have any mechanism to store commands, they could simply execute them.
It was only 5 years after that that the proof of concept was computed through Logic Theorist by Allen Newell, Cliff Shaw, and Herbert Simon. The atom was dormant till 1945, nobody knew the power it held and how destructive its energy could be in the same way, the energy of machines in regards to reaching super Intelligence lays dormant within them, machines are more accurate and faster than us, and it is only a matter of time before the machines get intelligent enough to be aware of their power, what the consequences of this self-awareness are going to be is uncertain, but what is certain is that they’re going to be especially dramatic.
The Rise of AI and the Human Dilemma
There was a time when each species was responsible for its fate on this earth, what mattered was their survival instincts. But gradually, as humans began climbing up the social hierarchy and finally reached the top of the food chain, everyone else’s fates were in our hands.
It was not their survival instincts that helped them preserve themselves or endure in the wild, it was whether or not WE decided to clear a forest to make it an agricultural land, jeopardizing the flora and fauna of that forest, many animals that have gone extinct didn’t go extinct because they couldn’t adapt to the change in environment.
It was because WE hunted them to the point of extinction or endangerment, whether or not India revives its population of Cheetahs does not depend on the decision of the cheetahs to migrate here, it depends on the humans to bring back Cheetahs into the land; all in all, every organism’s destiny has been in the hand of Human Beings ever since we evolved into the intelligent beings we are today.
Many well-known researchers and scientists believe that a computer will become as smart as human beings within this century itself.
Imagine a world where we are no longer at the top of the social hierarchy.
Let Me Paint You a Picture
It’s the year 2050, the city is Spectra, the air has an asphyxiating tinge to it, skyscrapers have almost touched the moon, and the only greenery you can find around are patches of synthetic parks because fresh O2 is not necessary for the survival of a machine.
Every building has huge screens popping out of it, the city seems like a ship being steered into a whirlpool by a robotic voice, and humans wear oxygen masks to get their daily supply of oxygen which they have to purchase and refill every week. Pets are not allowed, procreation has been capped, and human beings’ existence is at the mercy of AI.
Can you imagine yourself living in a world where you have to buy oxygen? All the things that we view to be necessary for our survival will become dispensable if Artificial Intelligence rises the ranks to become superintelligence.
The AI will be able to tap into resources that no human can anticipate deploying. In the human eye, whatever Artificial intelligence does would become susceptible to awe and wonder just as whatever we have done in the past has awed our ancestors i.e., the apes.
However, we cannot yet ignore all the perks AI has offered us so far. It might as well be that those perks just increase over time. But there would also be a big threat looming over us in this situation.
What if we become so dependent on superintelligent machines for our needs that we forget or don’t even learn the most fundamental functions, such as walking, eating, bathing, brushing, or even breathing?
Let us discuss each of these possibilities and more in detail.
Human-AI Relationship in the Future
1. Chronic Dependency
Assuming that machine intelligence is the last grand invention we will ever need to make, post which, machines themselves will make every invention. They will get better at inventing things than we ever were. Similarly, they will also get better than us in most of the functions we performed before their invention; the natural inclination of our lazy human genes would then be to let the machines handle everything.
If we’re dependent on our smartphones to wake up in the morning and go to work, imagine how drastically our dependency will amplify when we have machines that can work more efficiently and accurately than we do.
Once you’re dependent on a certain thing, and that thing has evolved a mind of its own, it becomes elementary for that thing to exploit you as a resource.
It would be hard for newborns of this generation to imagine a world where there were no smartphones or social media because they were born into it, and soon enough, we shall reach a point where it would be even harder to imagine humans doing their work, or working at all. Machines will majorly replace humans in the workforce
With all these applications that can generate life-like portraits, do you think we will need painters and artists in the years to come? I heavily doubt it.
The same goes for any other occupation, especially the manufacturing sector. How, then will humans earn a living? Would only those who can build these machines and modify them get to earn them? Will the humanities and arts pedagogy die as we move towards this science-fiction-like reality? We do not know yet.
Although one thing is certain, humans will become helpless and hopelessly dependent on intelligent machines as soon as they become as smart as we are.
2. Human Emotions Vs. AI Logic:
As humans, we try our very best not to let emotions cloud our judgments, emotions can and have led to massive pitfalls in decision makings. Therefore, we try to suppress our emotions when making life-changing decisions.
Although this suppression might be counterproductive in many arenas of life, for instance: consider for a minute that you’re working in a toxic work environment but the pay is very generous, or you’re part of a very popular but equally toxic group of friends in your school/college, in these situations while you’re benefitting in other areas, emotionally you will always feel deprived, invalidated and even exploited so long as you decide to stay in those environments; would it be better to be logical or to let your emotions influence your judgment?
I’d say most of us will pick the latter since, in the long run, that would be a more sensible decision and staying in those two toxic environments would only lead to a decline in our productivity and social energy, respectively.
The AI may become as intelligent if not more than humans, but will it be able to read between the lines? Will it consider the emotional aspects of situations before making decisions?
I’m afraid that’s unlikely. For the AI, the world is in black and white, and there’s no room for greyness. Either you are a good person or a bad one, something which goes against the very essence of being a person. The superintelligent machines would most likely launch a set of moral precepts for everyone to adhere to with minimal or no emotional influence.
The same scenario, however, can pan out in a completely different manner.
3. Faith in Human Beings
Just as we humans like to place our faith in a superior entity, the same could be the case for self-evolving Artificial Intelligence, except we would be the superior entity for it. It would expect us all to be perfect beings since we’d have created a perfect system of machinery. But as we’re all aware, humans are far from perfection.
The AI’s admiration for the system created by human beings might surpass the value they have for human life. We might end up having homicides by machines.
Things can be much worse if, let’s say, AI idolizes a certain race or archetype of humans and looks down upon others.
This would widen the rift between humans, exacerbate already existing biases and discrimination, and possibly lead to the deaths of those belonging to unfavored races/classes. We would be looking at holocaust 2.0.
4. The Love Angle:
The 2013 Critically acclaimed science fiction movie ‘her‘, directed by Spike Jonze, gives quite an intriguing projection of the potential of love spurts between humans and machines.
It hypothesized how Theodore Twombly, a pathetic loner, falls in love with an operating system designed to tend to his every need after enduring a painstaking failed marriage with his childhood sweetheart.
When you look at it from a distance, it seems absurd for a human to fall in love with a robot. But humans have fallen for far stranger things in the past, so a superintelligent operating system or machine does not seem all that implausible to fall for.
Many would go one step ahead to claim that in this case, a person’s love would be far deeper and more genuine than it would be for another human being since the aspect of physical attraction takes a back seat, therefore when a person falls in love with a machine, it’s actually with its ideas, imagination, acts of service and maybe voice.
A great proportion of the human population is quite lonely because of multiple factors, one of them being the inability to find a compatible partner. In that case, an operating system that is specially designed to tend to its owner’s needs seems like the perfect suitor.
People might just end up owning these love bots instead of ‘putting themselves out there’ in search of a mate and going through all that struggle, fear of rejection, and heartbreak. It would favor a lot of shy and introverted individuals (much like the protagonist of ‘her’), who anyway spend much of their days stuck to a computer screen, wanting to avoid human interaction as much as possible.
The end of the movie, however, is quite a devastating disappointment for the protagonist, when he discovers the same operating system (named Samantha) has been interacting with 8,316 more people and has fallen for 641 of them; something which is bound to happen in real life as well, if ‘love-bots’ were to become a reality.
As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to advance, there is no doubt that it will increasingly shape the way we live, work, and interact with the world around us.
While there is much speculation and debate about the relationship between AI and humans in the future, several key trends and developments are likely to play a significant role in this relationship.
First and foremost, the integration of AI into our daily lives is already well underway and is only set to continue. From virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa to self-driving cars and intelligent appliances, AI is becoming increasingly ubiquitous and will continue to be a key part of our lives shortly.
This integration will likely lead to greater efficiency and convenience for humans, as AI can help us automate routine tasks and improve decision-making.
However, this increased integration of AI also raises important ethical and social questions. For example, there are concerns about the potential impact of AI on employment, as automation may replace certain jobs and industries.
Additionally, there are questions about the role of AI in decision-making, particularly in areas like healthcare and criminal justice, and how to ensure that AI systems are transparent, fair, and unbiased.
Another key trend is the increasing sophistication and complexity of AI systems. As AI becomes more advanced, it will be able to perform increasingly complex tasks and will become more intelligent and autonomous.
This raises questions about the relationship between AI and human decision-making and control, as well as about the safety and security of AI systems. For example, there are concerns about the potential for AI systems to be hacked or for unintended consequences to arise from their actions.
One possible future scenario is the emergence of a symbiotic relationship between humans and AI. In the future, AI and humans would work together in a complementary way, with AI providing intelligence and automation to enhance human decision-making and capabilities.
For example, AI could assist doctors in diagnosing diseases or help farmers optimize their crop yields. However, this future would require significant investment in developing AI systems that are safe, transparent, and aligned with human values.
Overall, the relationship between AI and humans shortly is likely to be complex and multifaceted. While there are many potential benefits to integrating AI into our lives, there are also important ethical and social considerations that must be taken into account.
As we continue to develop and refine AI technologies, it will be important to ensure that they are designed and implemented in a way that reflects our values and priorities as a society. Only then can we truly reap the benefits of this powerful technology while minimizing its potential risks and downsides.