Singularity. It’s discussed by futurists and by scientists. Then there are the rest of us grappling to get our heads around the “reality” that within a decade or so, Artificial Intelligence will cause machines to become “smarter” than human beings. What does all of this mean for the quality of life and future learning?
Ray Kurzweil talks about “tools that will extend our reach.” He notes that they’re already “making us smarter,” and he believes they’re going to make us “funnier” and even “better at music.” In a nutshell, “we’re really going to exemplify all the things that we value in humans to a greater degree.”
Elon Musk and a group of robotics and AI companies, on the other hand, have asked the UN to focus on the third revolution in warfare fueled by this technology. Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons “will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.” These groups believe that the technology will create “weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.”
Who gets to control these machines? Where are the weekly forums on the pros and cons of this innovation with all the stakeholders involved? Indeed, does anyone other than a few experts and a few educated citizens really have a good grasp of what we’re dealing with here?
One thing we all must do is continue to educate ourselves consistently and get engaged in global discourse on the implications of what all of this will mean for our children, their learning and the future we want.
The Millennial Bloggers are based all over the world. They are innovators in entrepreneurship, journalism, education, entertainment, health and wellbeing and academic scholarship. This month we posed this question:
Do we need to regulate AI now before it becomes a danger to humanity?
“We are experiencing a time, where five companies are holding most of the economic (and even political) power in the world: Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. These companies have the power to impact some of the biggest questions of our time,” writes Reetta Heiskanen. “We should think about fundamental questions: what are the elements that make human a human? And what are the ingredients that help us execute our own, individual potential?”
Read Also: Humanity in the time of Artificial Intelligence.
“It is crucial to control the power and availability of AI in order to prevent the dominance of powerful companies with large amounts of data and funding,” writes Sajia Darwish. “We need to ensure that AI is used solely for educational, medical, scientific, and social purposes to ensure that it does not harm broader communities and the security of the world.”
“Blade Runner 2049 had recently offered me a vision of a more emotionally evolved Alexa – Ryan Gosling’s flickering, buxom fantasy, who occupied his futuristically claustrophobic living unit with coquettishness and bonhomie that I suspect will remain more elusive for the enterprising engineers at Google,” writes James Kernochan. “Yet the quicksand of this visionary landscape remained just that, mixed in hues of orange desert, grey expanses of trash, and the ghostly black depths of the nighttime storm-tossed sea in the final standoff.”
“It saddens me to think that a technology that could improve the lives of billions, like implementing autonomous farming to ensure all of the world’s peoples are sufficiently fed is being warped into creating new age killing machines,” writes Wilson Carter.
“Perpetuating sexism and other harmful beliefs in our society is a danger, and it sheds light on who is currently producing these algorithms. Do we need to think more carefully about who controls and owns these means of production, and who they are accountable to?” writes Bonnie Chiu. “These discussions must not be contained within the techies and geeks, but must involve the wider society.”
The Millennial Bloggers are Alusine Barrie, Sajia Darwish, James Kernochan, Kamna Kathuria, Jacob Deleon Navarrete, Reetta Heiskanen, Shay Wright, Isadora Baum, Wilson Carter III, Francisco Hernandez, Erin Farley, Dominique Alyssa Dryding, Harry Glass, Harmony Siganporia and Bonnie Chiu.
Recommended: Gender Politics of Artificial Intelligence
[This article was first published in 2018]