A couple of months ago, I wrote a series of articles titled “Artificial Intelligence – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”. I am taking the opportunity to do a “redux” version of it. Clarifying , correcting and adding a few subjects.
Enjoy and Please do not hesitate to leave your comments !
On many levels, AI is already shaping our lives and our businesses. You have used them, and that maybe the scariest part, without noticing it. You know Alexa or Siri. But do you know there cousins ?
Deep Learning, Bots, Virtual assistants, autonomous vehicles, deepfake… none of the GAFA, the world’s web / techno giants, is not working or already providing AI related services or development tools.
Have you used Google to search images? Well, a learning application provided you the results! Have you ever purchased a suggested item from Amazon, same here, AI! Same for your Netflix’s selection!
The list could go on and on: AI a common tool we use on a daily basis. We are at the first stages only of its implementation. What is next for this breakthrough?
We still face many uncertainties.
We still are officially the smartest race on this planet. In the future, AI will surpass us in many fields starting on GO or CHESS play.
AI training / programming remains at an early technological stage, based on mainly “pets training… trial and error learning” (Matthew Hutson Science magazine). They DO improve fast. How will it be? What will be our interaction with it?
This is unknown yet, to a certain extent, as many existing applications and studies provide us hints to what AI could become and how it will affect us more than we think so far. Will the science and knowledge of AI create such an environment of progress?
In the eighteenth Century in France, the GAFA of the time (Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau) were bringing light against obscurantism through literature, philosophy and science. Those brought a new society model and helped democracy and free speech to emerge.
Those times were also times of world discovery and slavery. Not too good right? Followed by revolutions and wars, not too good either … Social progress through labor and social repression with dictatorships…
The road is going to be bumpy for “our new friend” and us.
AI will be part of all our activities. Its usage seems limitless and we wonder how it is and how it will influence our lives.
Kay S. Hymowitz from its city journal articles made an interesting research on job automation impact for employment. For example, AI / robotics will affect more and more sectors with replacing humans in Finance: 230K human worker by 2025.
In his article ”The state of AI: why businesses need to start using Artificial Intelligence now”, ITPROPORTAL’s Frédéric Durand alarms that “by 2020, AI will eliminate 1.8 million jobs”. 2020 is tomorrow!
Better shape up our career plans fast, or office meetings will look like offices on Christmas eve every day!
The World Bank estimates “57% of jobs in OECD countries could be automated over the next two decades”. So far, in USA alone, in the past five months 89K workers in general merchandise store lost their jobs. Because “self-operating and chatty vending machines” (link)
AI is already
Writing books, commenting, making full-length movie pictures in minutes : as mentioned by Max Tegmark in his book Life 3.0 (check out also the site), the technology could attain “Artificial General Intelligence”, meaning being able to “accomplish any cognitive tasks at least as well as humans”.
In “Five myths about artificial intelligence” (), Bill LaPlante and Katharyn White emphasize while we fear “Artificial intelligence is a threat to mankind… The truth is we simply don’t know…”
This is the most troublesome statement: the unknown of what is going to happen to us. Our nations, communities and industries are not prepared yet. We have always embraced technology making it more and more part of our lives for the greater good.
In a hyper-connected world where we use machines for our professional and family daily tasks, human nature has to progress. The bad thing is it always looks like we never planned its consequences and blame the machines for issues.
Tell me: Who created them? Who uses them?
Do you see where I want to lead you? The weapon / military industry has been a leader on new technologies for decades (centuries?), our appetite for destruction and war industrialization has created a colossal business sectors : 1.7 trillions USD in global expenditure in 2016 (https://www.statista.com/topics/1696/defense-and-arms/).
“The global Artificial Intelligence & Robotics in the Defense industry market, is valued at US $39.22 billion in 2018” – referenced in this article. We are talking real life Terminators there. This is no sci-fi.
Armies around the world already use unmanned drones, autonomous warships and AI-driven sentry guns.
Less human flaws and more machine efficiency help improving military defense systems.
What is the greatest enemy apart from Global Warming? Terrorism. I told you this was going to be bleak. Terrorists use all kind of weapons, all kind of methods to perform their attacks. You can use drones instead of planes to bring down buildings or replace a human driven car by an autonomous vehicle to dive into a crowded street.
We know about the killed by autonomous car , and this has to be balanced with the 1.25 million annual road fatalities worldwide, due to human failure. In theory, a machine makes better decisions: based on facts, using an emotion-less algorithm.
Scientifically speaking, it makes sense.
To get back to those weapons, used by Nations’ military forces, would you agree they would be more reliable than human when to decide to kill or not? Decision-making is one of AI application. Systems capable of analyzing big data pools and provide the best solutions to a problem, those systems exist.
Used for strategical decision and I mean not only Business Strategy.
In his short essay ”will-artificial-intelligence-undermine-nuclear-stability”, Andrew J. Lohn and Edward Geist asks the question about the “strategic rivalries from (our) nine nuclear powers” and their temptation to build machines that could “act as strategists”.
Is it possible that a machine could decide the first nuclear strike, in order to prevent a predicted attack based on analysis provided by another AI?
With Government around the world making investments in AI (for example China 147.8 Billion USD in a 2030 plan), this is not to produce ALEXA’s type of device only. Not only weapons can cause nationwide damages…
The Cambridge Analytica proved AI could help with individuals manipulation : the operation used available technos such as big data and machine learning to influence voters in a modern democracy. Political Bots just spread the “fake news”. AI all the way guilty. And the use of deepfake videos, bot-written article will expand, how can we know the truth when reality itself can be so “human-tificialy” forged?
Would that even matter at some point in the future?
Behind all those examples of techno-deviances it is our own nature we should question. We are the creators. We are responsible.
AI powers depend on us. Will be the teachers or do we want to be the pupils?
How it will expand, what it will become uniquely depends on humans. At first, it will have the flaws of its creators. However, it will improve over time. Moreover, the control of that growth depends on us.
We need to “inventory actions humanism justifies…good or bad, mentions Gilles Dowek in Liberation’s “Voyage au coeur de l’AI” adding “there is no more competition between Man and Machine than between the trumpeter and its instrument…”.
We need to evade from our fiction tales of AI dominating the World and start educating ourselves.
Frédéric Durand, in State of AI (), mentions, “Intelligent machines … enable businesses to boost productivity, performance and quality of service”. Those AIs we will implement and used are there for a greater good.
The AI Technology race between countries (USA and China) are the leaders) will bring like any age of progress first a crisis effect then an economical. After a harsh transition period, the time for human worker to adapt, figures will go up: estim. +2.3 million job, which means a total net of half a million employments added thanks to AI (in state of AI).
In this RAND article written by by Nidhi Kalra and David G. Groves () hope “Highly Automated Vehicules… will save hundreds of thousands of lives”.
For Healthcare (in Forbes), AI will help “extend the power of human thinking in three critical areas: advanced computation, statistical analysis and hypothesis generation”. In short, less time for analyzing more time for treating and applying.
There is more to rejoice than to be sad about.
Those benefits, they will go beyond private companies and economy benefits. Less time waste, leaner processes, health improvements… We are in control of our destiny, if we care to provide a sustainable future to our civilization. We are capable of Great and we can destroy our home at the same time. We move forward, hoping time will help us provide better solutions to our issues.
Will AI help us solving our greatest problem: Climate Change? Microsoft think so creating its AI for Earth program. Agriculture and Energy efficiency use AI to improve their processes.
To ignite this Revolution, GAFAs provided the matches, but if we start a fire we need to:
Control it / Rule it
Make sure we have extinguishers if needed / backup plans and safeguards
Or like a forest fire aftermath, only dust and ashes of our civilization would remain.