Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humans
Today, digital life is proven to be detrimental to humans’ abilities and is wreaking havoc on billions of years worth of human activities. More than 50% of the world’s animals and humans have experienced different code-driven systems that allow them to think about inconceivable possibilities and extraordinary threats. A new question that comes to mind from this evidence is will humans be better off than they are today with this new kind of artificial intelligence?
During the summer of 2018, over 970 technological experts were able to answer this question based on their predictions. Their theory was that although networked artificial intelligence would expand human productivity, it would threaten human autonomy, agency, and capabilities. Such threats included more in-depth decision making, better problem solving, increased rational thinking, and a lot more complex situations. According to them, these “smart” systems would help people to optimize their time and live a more balanced life.
Many of the experts believe that the new AI (Artificial Intelligence) will help seniors to live longer and more fulfilling lives. Both formal and informal education systems are also predicted to be affected by this new kind of intelligence. However, some experts believe that the new AI will be beneficial to humans, while others think it would be detrimental.
A lot of concerns that experts have expressed include human agency, data abuse, job loss, dependence lock-in, and mayhem. All of the participants were asked this question :
“By 2030, do you think it is most likely that advancing AI and related technology systems will enhance human capacities and empower them? That is, most of the time, will most people be better off than they are today? Or is it most likely that advancing AI and related technology systems will lessen human autonomy and agency to such an extent that most people will not be better off than the way things are today?”
63% of the individuals stated that they had high hopes for the year 2030 and that humans will be better off. However, the last 37% thought otherwise and don’t believe that we will be better off. Several participants from the experiment gave their opinions on the question that was asked about AI.
“We need to work aggressively to make sure technology matches our values.” stated by Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT initiative on the Digital Economy and author of ‘Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future’. “AI and related technologies have already achieved superhuman performance in many areas, and there is little doubt that their capabilities will improve, probably very significantly, by 2030.… I think it is more likely than not that we will use this power to make the world a better place. For instance, we can virtually eliminate global poverty, massively reduce disease and provide better education to almost everyone on the planet. That said, AI and ML [machine learning] can also be used to increasingly concentrate wealth and power, leaving many people behind, and to create even more horrifying weapons. Neither outcome is inevitable, so the right question is not ‘What will happen?’ but ‘What will we choose to do?’ We need to work aggressively to make sure technology matches our values. This can and must be done at all levels, from the government to business, to academia, and to individual choices.”
John C. Havens, executive director of the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems and the Council on Extended Intelligence, wrote, “Now, in 2018, a majority of people around the world can’t access their data, so any ‘human-AI augmentation’ discussions ignore the critical context of who actually controls people’s information and identity. Soon it will be extremely difficult to identify any autonomous or intelligent systems whose algorithms don’t interact with human data in one form or another.”
Kostas Alexandridis, author of “Exploring Complex Dynamics in Multi-agent-based Intelligent Systems,” predicted, “Many of our day-to-day decisions will be automated with minimal intervention by the end-user. Autonomy and/or independence will be sacrificed and replaced by convenience. Newer generations of citizens will become more and more dependent on networked AI structures and processes. There are challenges that need to be addressed in terms of critical thinking and heterogeneity. Networked interdependence will, more likely than not, increase our vulnerability to cyberattacks. There is also a real likelihood that there will exist sharper divisions between digital ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots,’ as well as among technologically dependent digital infrastructures. Finally, there is the question of the new ‘commanding heights’ of the digital network infrastructure’s ownership and control.”
Based on these conclusions, the majority of experts believe that by 2030 humans will be better off with a new kind of artificial intelligence.
@pewinternet. "Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humans." Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, 2018,
Written by: Autumn Livingstone
Edited by: Ailiya Treesa Philips