Should we worry about artificial intelligence?

Editor’s note: In this future picture, students discuss the future of artificial intelligence. Next, we will ask: “In July, images from the James Webb Space Telescope revealed amazing images of new galaxies and planets. What is the future of space exploration? Is it aiming for deep space? Are planets and moons colonizing in our own galaxy? Asteroid mining? Will governments or private companies take the lead? ” Students must click here to submit opinions of less than 250 words by August 2nd. The best answers will be announced the same evening. Click here to submit a video for our Future View Snapchat show.

Humans are an incredibly adaptable species. With the advent of domestic animals and domestic animals, for example, we invented new symbiotic relationships that continued to define our civilization. Artificial intelligence as it exists today is already radically changing our economy, with computers robbing traditional human occupations and people mobilizing to sustain them. If computers eventually become sensory, we’ll probably be quick to become more dependent on smart technology as a tool – and also to share a transactional relationship with AI, similar to what we have with horses and dogs.

Hollywood wants you to believe that artificial intelligence is an existential threat to civilization. The real threat is nothing so dramatic. If humanity decides to accept artificial intelligence in order to increase prosperity, it will have to reconcile it with also having to relinquish innumerable responsibilities and social norms that define our current lifestyle.

—Nathan Biller, Colgate University, History and Political Science

It’s time to regulate AI

Emotion is a quality of beings with consciousness and feeling. Both are insignificant, making them impossible to measure. Scientists have not even reached a consensus on an appropriate definition of consciousness – which makes the notion that artificial intelligence or any technological innovation for that matter ridiculous, could achieve such a state.

AI has contributed to the development of chatbots, face recognition programs and targeted advertising. The benefits to society are clear to see. But what if AI also had the potential to displace tens of thousands of workers? This is a stark reality for many families who cannot afford to be overlooked. Some careers that face serious risks of automation in the coming years include cashiers, receptionists and even pilots.

Because artificial intelligence poses a massive threat to both economic and social stability, the time has come for legislators to draw the line. AI has the potential to be as helpful or destructive as we allow it to be.

—Peter Iossa, Pennsylvania State University, Physics

We must be prepared

The technology of artificial intelligence shapes the human condition by acting as both a tool and a mirror. While artificial intelligence has the potential for enormous public good, including solutions to climate change and other social issues, an inadequate level of infrastructure and knowledge exists to support its rapid development. AI can magnify existing systemic injustices and imbalances on both an individual and collective scale. For example, a 2019 study published in Science found that an AI health algorithm used to predict which patients needed extra care showed signs of racial bias.

Abstract arguments about whether AI is sensory ignore the real impact that artificial intelligence has on society. The Turing test rests on whether an AI seems human, suggesting that the true effect of AI is the way it shapes how we perceive each other.

Tag LaMDA, Google’s “Large Language Models” AI platform. The ability to replicate what seems like authentic human speech speaks to an innate aspect of the human experience, which automatically encourages empathy. When a machine evokes empathy, it raises the question of whether it is really a sign of humanity, which may lower our responsiveness to empathy towards real people. Similar AI creations blur the boundaries of humanity and distort our perception of ourselves.

That’s the most dangerous part. As machine learning and the development of artificial general intelligence continue to evolve, we need not only be concerned. We must be prepared for the nature of humanity to be called into question.

—Jenny Duan, Stanford University, Symbolic Systems

We should worry about economic collapse

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are phenomenal calculation tools that, through pattern recognition, enable predictive abilities. Raw versions are already available on mobile phones and email applications.


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LaMDA, Google’s AI platform, is more sophisticated. LaMDA is formulated to acquire, analyze and predict conversation – a close definition of intelligence. But it is only near, not a true or profound definition of intelligence. Like other advanced computer tools, including model-informed drug development algorithms to accelerate vaccination efforts and digital models to predict jet engine failures, the data-driven models are rooted in statistics that predict the most likely scenario that will arise from different starting conditions.

These black-box algorithms require trained users (who are expected to create the highest growth job in 2025). The danger is not what AI and machine learning bring, but what they leave behind. There is already a shortage of teachers, technicians and truck drivers – people in essential tasks who are unable to switch to teleworking. Our cultural fixation on the latest and most ostentatious professions can exacerbate the mismatch between supply and demand.

If AI brings us to a societal collapse, it will not be a Skynet firefight, but because of a failure to educate future generations, repair our infrastructure, and maintain our trading system, which will still be important even with AI.

—Matt Phillips, North Carolina State University, Aerospace Engineer (Ph.D.)

Humans are not machines

Artificial intelligence can improve efficiency in the workplace by performing repetitive or tedious tasks. It allows people to engage in creative and inventive pursuits and advance their goals and ideas. However, AI is not capable of struggling with the meaningful truths that mark the human condition.

To think and be are inseparable. That is why the sixth century thinker Boethius writes in “The Consolation of Philosophy” that Philosophy, personified as a nurse, diagnoses him by forgetting his own identity. While Boethius deals with worldly meaning and bodily forms, his fascination with the external prevents him from considering his inherent existence. The text offers the state of human nature, which says that “as soon as it ceases to know itself, it must be reduced to a lower rank” – as in, no longer being a human entity at all.

AI lacks the human state because it cannot consider the weighty truths and inner contemplation that every person has the ability to explore. According to Aristotle, the contemplation of practical knowledge can lead to action, but it is only through the contemplation of theoretical knowledge that truths can be explored. While AI can answer pragmatic problems, it lacks the intellectual principle that points to higher forms of goodness and being that can only be achieved by humans.

While we struggle with the uncertainty and fear that the emergence of artificial intelligence has inspired, we should take comfort in the philosophy that Boethius advises. It is a consolation and safeguard against the uncontrollable and volatile nature of the outside world.

—Elizabeth Prater, University of Notre Dame, marketing and good books

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