What Do You Think About Artificial Intelligence?

As the quality of artificial intelligence continues to increase, it is easy to imagine that it will have a significant impact in many areas of our everyday life. How might it impact your life, and how do you feel about it?

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has long been a staple of science fiction. From Asimov’s robot stories to the computer HAL in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: a Space Odyssey, the possibilities of AI has often been the source of futurist stories.

Now, however, science fiction is beginning to merge with science fact. The recent advances in AI-generated text and images have captured the public imagination. People are using AI interfaces to generate marketing text, or to make pictures of any prompt they can think of.

Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘Is technology neutral?’ We also discuss another question as well, ‘Freedom or security?’

But while individuals play with the various interfaces, some have started sound alarm bells. While the output of many of the AI platforms can be spotted fairly easily now, the advances are happening quickly. It is not clear where the technology will go next, and some see a dire future.

Students could generate school essays with minimal research. Any conspiracy theorist can create legitimate-sounding content to dupe unsuspecting members pf the public. And in the ultimate nightmare scenario, AI could become so advanced that it has an agenda of its own, and ignores the wishes and desires of the humans who created it.

But is this all just fear of the unknown? Are the people spreading panic just not seeing — or not choosing to see — the benefits of the new technology? Will artificial intelligence be a tool of mankind, used to multiply our productivity, or is it instead an existential threat? Or somewhere in between?

What do you think about artificial intelligence?

Related questions: Will technology save us? What new technology do you want? What is the greatest problem facing humanity? How can we measure intelligence?


2 thoughts on “What Do You Think About Artificial Intelligence?”

  1. Let’s get one thing out of the way: Technology is not neutral. It isn’t just this inert thing, which is only positive or negative based on how the masses use the invention. First, there are consequences to using a technology that can be foreseen but are not the intention. For instance, if you build roads, there will be roadkill. There’s no getting around that, nor it being able to be suspected. Second, someone makes technology, and that someone usually has intended uses that also bring about consequences–sometimes minor consequences, sometimes quite momentous. For instance, the inventor of the tank certainly knew how their invention would be used. Today, many of the more consequential creations rely on the investments of very wealthy people and corporations. They have an intended use in mind. They aren’t investing for some neutral purpose.

    Now, my thoughts about artificial intelligence: I hope many people use it for good reasons. But I am scared, quite honestly. First, while I may sound like a Luddite, let’s admit that certain occupations will be decimated or at least shrunk considerably. This is, for example, a significant reason actors and writers have been on strike for months. Or let me get personal. At this time, someone could mimic me using artificial intelligence. I have a lot of answers on this blog. Someone could compile a number of the things I wrote, and artificial intelligence could craft other essays sounding like they are me. Somebody could steal my online identity. Is there a reason to be scared? You betcha!

  2. Cliche to say it, but like most tech, there are and will be positive and negative effects. Lives and livelihoods will be lost (either through malicious misuse or accidents, and certainly through obsolescence of jobs), and new ones will be enabled (medical improvements and jobs we can’t even predict will arise).

    I don’t fear the current round of so-called AI (which is not what science fiction calls AI _at all_), but if actual consciousness arises in silicon brains, that’s a whole new ballgame.

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