Social Benefits and Risks of Artificial Intelligence

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Please enjoy this post by Guy Morris, researcher and author of the award-winning AI thriller, SWARM, on his upcoming Salon.

Happy Reading!

—ii Editorial

P.S. Check out this interview with Guy to learn even more!

The subject of artificial intelligence (AI) often strikes the average individual as either the stuff of science fiction or an advanced technology too complex to understand. AI can be seen as benevolent and useful to the advancement of the human race (solving complex problems) or it can be seen as malevolent and soulless, such as HAL in the movie 2001: a Space Odyssey or the omni-present LISA in the movie iRobot

Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and many other intellectual giants have made public statements warning the world against the power of artificial intelligence. And yet, Elon Musk is scheduled to release an AI robot by early 2023. Too often the average person pulls back from the topic with an unspoken fear of a technology they don’t understand and have no power to stop.

We don’t need to peer far into the distant future to understand how these programs, with the power to learn and adjust, present both current day benefits and dangers. The advancement of AI has already impacted healthcare, automation, robotics, product design, creative arts, navigation, speech recognition, facial recognition, telecommunications, surveillance, cyber-security, national security and weapons development.  In nearly all of these situations, the introduction of AI has accelerated the development curve and has displayed superior performance over that of a human. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM each boast about the achievements of their AI platform and the ability to help businesses do more with less.

While these companies will rarely discuss the concerns of AI advancements, the recent news of the Google AI LAMDA reaching a sentient state sent the company scrambling to deny and downplay the event.  With AI poised to change so many industries and effect so many jobs, I wanted to host a Salon that would empower you with relevant facts to understand the different types of AI, the issues involved in developing them, along with the risks and benefits to humanity and society.

If you know almost nothing about AI, we will take a non-technical perspective on the technology and focus on the ethical, policy, product development, and social implications that will change the world as much or more than computing has during the past 70 years.

You will learn the difference between a sentient AI and AI singularity and why that difference is important. We will discuss the various types of AI, how they are being used, and which types pose the greatest threat. 

Did you know that certain kinds of AI can rewrite its own code and others can engage in conversation with other AI? You will learn more about how AI can impact personal privacy, cyber and national security, as well as the international efforts to limit the use of AI in weapons. Our discussion will touch on who is making the largest investments in AI platforms and what these organizations expect in return. Finally, most importantly, we will discuss how AI will affect you, the consumer. 

I invite you to join us in this discussion on a topic that will have a direct influence on nearly every individual over the coming decades. Empower yourself with knowledge, step away from fear and fantasy, and move into a more informed place regarding this modern digital magic called artificial intelligence.