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Artificial Intelligence: What About Us?

Nidhi Rai

January 07, 2019 10:02 PM

Are you afraid of social interaction with your peers? Are you emotionally stifled and seeking despondence and apathy in your relationships?  Have no fear—the robots are here!

If only it were that simple. Being a socially awkward human being with a slight inability to connect with my peers on an interpersonal level without making things starkly uncomfortable for all parties involved, I fantasize about a world in which I could isolate and allow the semblance of emotional stability I have deteriorate even more.

I dream of connecting solely through blog posts about common late night google searches. I would sing “We Found Love in Hopeless Place” while engaging with my customized sex robot without worrying about whether it not it will try to cuddle me after or expect me to make breakfast in the morning. The simplicity is appealing, and the lack of other people solidifies the fallacy even more.

The ever-expanding world of technology is trying its best to keep up with the demands of consumers and the high expectations that follow.  In a culture of instant gratification and little awareness of virtual consequences, we need things quickly and to our liking when it comes to the vast world of technology.

Remember the days where computers consisted solely of dial up and minesweeper?  

Yes, that satisfied my needs as a small child, but now in my twenties, I need more. I crave progression and get frustrated when my WIFI disconnects. Technology is so embedded into our society’s every day function that a world without it seems unlivable. Imagine having to go to the library just to figure out the latest news and developments in the scientific community or asking a friend the newest celebrity gossip. It’s a scary thought.

I’d much rather just ask Siri and have her Google it for me while I remain in the comfort of my own home. With the progressive trends in technological development, Artificial Intelligence (or AI) is one of the most controversial and feared programs already implemented on smaller scales in our everyday devices.  

  • How to Thrive With AI

Artificial Intelligence isn’t that new of a concept; theoretically applied on a large scale, it’s easy to see the pending doom and demise of society as we know it.

Whether using it for customer service positions, research jobs, or analytical and data gathering types of services, computers and the technology they possess can pretty much do these things without human supervision. It’s almost like a coming of age tale of the robots; they came into this world, one per office building, needing constant care and supervision, but now, they’re transitioning into adulthood. They can shop for groceries by themselves and even remember to turn the lights off at home when they power off for the night.

Some would say they are more responsible than most millennials when it comes to energy resourcefulness and self-sufficiency, but that is neither relevant or helpful to defending millennials in general.  

  • We Use AI More Than We Think

Often, we think of AI as having a mind of their own, hellbent on fixing humanity through force and murder. Now, although that might happen somewhat in the near distant future (looking at you, Elon Musk, and your overly-enthusiastic vision of the future), we’re currently using AI to do everything we wanted on a limited scale.

-Online Banking

-Ride-share Apps

-That stupid Snapchat filter that turns you into a cute puppy

-Other Facial recognition software

-Robotic, preprogramed assistants like Siri, Alexa, or Echo

-Voice to text services

We even have self-driving Ubers—cars that can drive themselves. And sex robots.

Robots. For sex. No consent needed. They exist to have sex with. And we think it’s normal.

  • Are They Replacing Us?

Computers can now complete tasks that humans have been used for. I personally write articles and blogs, but a computer can do that for me and probably get it done more efficiently and use better words. It takes me a couple of hours to research and compose content to appease the company that I’m working for and they have a whole separate division of employees that do their own research on things I don’t fully understand like web traffic and key words in search engines.

But what if the computers take it even one step further? Let’s say a real estate company hired me for a post on short sale homes in a specific region of the country. It would take me a day to gather information just to even figure out what a short sale is.

Let’s say this same company just gets their computer to write it for them. It could predict algorithms for optimum click bait without being click bait-y and lure people into going onto a site and reading a short sale blog in less time than the whole team could do the research and generate a post.  

But what if Artificial Intelligence takes even one step further and creates a post so popular that it generates an influx of people to inhabit a specific region that it was advertising for?  

What if the system develops a mind of its own where it can wipe out that whole region?

  • Super Intelligence

The question looming over everyone is what happens when we cease to have control over what these computers do?  

The Future of Life Institute recognizes two distinct ways in which AI could cause harm: the first one being if the intelligence itself is programmed to cause harm, and secondly if the intelligence is programmed for beneficial use, but “develops a destructive method for achieving its goal.”  

Those two theories cancel out this idea of “self-sufficient” robots taking over humanity since they are designed to receive human orders and carry out tasks we assign them. The existential thought and fear of robots taking over has some root though, however, especially when you consider the aspect of it learning behaviors.

  • The Issue of Morality and Mortality

Rather than AI becoming an evil facet with outwardly bad intentions of destruction and chaos, the fear is more so grounded in an idea of technology being able to compute and recognize basic human emotion and utilize aspects of it that drive action and behavior. Emotional intelligence is overrated, so here is some artificial intelligence.

Once again, it’s not quite that simple. It’s not a matter of function over emotion; introspection and self-sufficiency of computers can allow them to modify themselves to optimum function without the permission of their creators. While humans created this technology, the threat of “self-sufficient robots” and their destruction of human kind stems from their potential to be able to make themselves more intelligent without permission.

Will these self-sufficient programs of human creation possess the inherent qualities that destroy the ties of humanity—such as hatred—for those different?

Will the scope of homophobia, racism and sexism expand from pointing out differences of the heteronormative patriarchy to a simple discrimination of humanness, itself?

While I haven’t decided where I stand on this matter, I see both sides of it. Do the benefits of a self-driving car that provide me the ability to take a nap on my way anywhere outweigh the fears of human destruction?

Siri already knows more than I do, so who am I to say? I’m not sure, but I have ideas of my own.  I won’t state them here because this is being posted online and I don’t want the computers to gauge their own conception of me and whether or not they will let me live.

So, for now: robots are rad. Please let me live.

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