Imagine a future where machines and software work hand in hand in a way that would make them seem ‘intelligent’. This may be possible in the distant future because of ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) which can be imagined to be a virtual brain which is able to learn, reason, and solve problems . According to the famed physicist Stephen Hawking, AI will either be the best or worst thing to ever happen to humanity. If it is not managed properly, it may spell the end of humanity. Thus, should governments prioritise on the regulation or development of AI?
According to Tractica, a market research firm, the annual global revenue for AI products and services will grow from $643.7 million in 2016 to $36.8 billion by 2025. This represents a 57-fold increase over that time period. The long-term goal of many engineers is to create a general AI which can outperform humans at nearly every cognitive task. IBM’s Watson has worked on numerous autonomous weapons.
However, in terms of safety, current ‘narrow AIs’ have minor risks such as hacking. This risk amplifies as the level of AI and autonomy increases. Proper regulation is not limited only to development but also when AI is being applied. The question is what will happen if the quest for general AI succeeds and an AI system outperforms humans’ at all cognitive tasks. This is all thanks to a company’s autonomy to research AI. It would be devastating if AI were programmed by the wrong person to do something disastrous. Autonomous weapons and an AI arms race can inadvertently lead to an AI war that will result in mass casualties. There is potential for an AI system to either intentionally or unintentionally cause great harm to people. Thus, a short-term challenge is to establish regulations to prevent the potential occurrence of drastic consequences in future.
The introduction of ‘Kiva’, an AI robot in Amazon warehouses, reduced operating expenses by 20%. According to Accenture, AI has the potential to double the GDP growth rates of 12 developed economies by 2035. However, the downsides of using AI systems outweigh the profit generated. For instance, integrating AI in the manufacturing industry may cause mass retrenchment. The newly unemployed workers will then experience economic hardship which will hence lead to a sense of worthlessness. To prevent mass unemployment, governments can limit the involvement of AI systems in the labour force.
AI has rapidly developed and is now applied to situations that humans struggle with such as climate change research and medical life-saving diagnoses. As mentioned, the development of AI might reduce the workforce thus causing humans to be over-reliant on machines. Humans may not be able to replicate manual skills as they did in the past. At that point in time, humans will be habituated towards laziness. They will lack skills and have a limited understanding of machines. As a result of excessive technical dependency, it will be difficult to troubleshoot mistakes made by AI as the task gets more complicated. Consequently, humans will have less control over AI and this may become a threat for humans. This problem can be minimised by monitoring the algorithm to ensure feasibility and legislation of AI.
For the sake of progress, it is better to focus on the development of the AI industry. The introduction of regulations will hinder the development of AI. Countries that prioritize regulations are likely to fall behind others in terms of research and development (R&D). As argued by Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM, the development of AI may cause certain jobs to become obsolete. However, it will create new fields which will lead to more highly skilled jobs in the long run. There will be a reduction of jobs in the short term however the welfare of the general public will improve in the long term. Eventually, the workers who have lost their jobs due to AI in factories will be moved into different sectors. R&D of AI should be free and ongoing as it allows the country to lead the pace of future advancement.
AI can potentially speed up and reduce cost during the research and development stage of a project. For instance, AI can be used to optimize the design of an aircraft by decreasing the design time and subsequently the cost. By saving time and money, further improvisation can be done to the aircraft to boost its efficiency. Virtue ethics focuses on the well-being of a professional which supports the act of involving AI moderately and linearly in the design process of engineering. Without the concept of virtue ethics, not only the involvement of AI but all sorts of decision will have to be regulated before the final decision. This will be time consuming and complicated.
ChronologyMD is a project to elevate the efficiency of health communication using AI components for Crohn’s disease patients. The traditional way of health communication was analysed to develop eHealth communication operated by AI. The communication between doctors and patients has improved since. AI health communication can cater for a user-centered design which can be personalised according to different needs for effective health communication. Doctors and researchers can both benefit from this holistic approach thus gaining information and knowledge in terms of social science and design science for maximum felicity. As a result, productivity and efficiency will greatly increase with the aid of AI in our daily life which justify the need to focus on AI development.
In conclusion, AI has the possibility of assisting mankind to achieve greater heights. However, there is a possibility of AI turning on mankind and bringing destruction. To prevent this, the assertion of jurisdiction can be applied by the government to companies whenever risk is identified during the regulation stage. This is to prevent impeding research and development while maintaining human safety. Proper regulation of AI should only be established by governments on industries that may unintentionally bring great harm to humans.