With all the AI-related newsfeeds, stories, announcements, and tech giant personalities sharing their wisdom, it would be hard to avoid hearing about the "Big Bad AI" undercurrents. To answer this question honestly, I would admit to both fear and excitement. For the short term, the news is mostly good and helpful, but the fear of where AI might end up down the road scares us all. To sort this out, I tried to identify ten things that scare me about AI and ten things that encourage me about AI. Read about the three Eras of AI coming your way by clicking here.
My Top Ten Fears
AI Takes Over the World
At the worst, AI will become self-aware and use its powers against humankind. I'm not a big believer in this scenario. While AI will network with other AI forces to do good, it is more likely that bad actors will leverage AI for dark outcomes or power than AI coalescing to destroy humankind.
AI Lacks Ethics and Empathy
AI is great at doing tasks today informed by multiple data, information, and knowledge sources. As AI spreads, it will become more engrained in the decision-making processes at various levels, and decisions will likely be driven by hard science and logic rather than the feelings of people or the respect of ethical behavior.
AI is Used to Battle Security
AI will be used to fool individuals and organizations with deep fakes by computing through multiple security defenses. We see this emerging now, but AI can be used to battle security incursions. The arms race will only get more intense with AI supercharging the security wars.
AI Displaces Jobs & Skills
AI will take jobs away from people. It will start with menial or manual work, especially where danger is present and repetitive precision is needed. While AI will create new jobs that require new skills, people will be displaced until they find work AI is not great at, which tends towards creativity and careers that need deep people skills. The workforce will always have to be learning or chasing the last chair in a game of AI musical chairs.
AI Lacks Transparency & Explanation
AI and automation must rarely explain themselves or be completely transparent. AI must explain itself, at least after the fact, to govern and deliver fair treatment. Ideally, AI should ask before, but that takes time. Time is often the savings benefit that drives AI, so that post-audit trends will be vital.
AI Lacks Real Creativity
Yes, AI can copy creations of the past and even generate projects based on creative libraries of content, but will it be able to create new concepts that please the nature of human appreciation? There is much room here for AI to generate and have humans add or adjust, but the natural creativity lies in humans today.
AI is Used for Social Manipulation
AI can fake stories, create deep fake videos, and play impostors cleverly. In the hands of manipulators, AI can be leveraged to develop actions in humans who buy, vote, and act. While it can be used for good, like changing behaviors to benefit societies, AI can also steer us toward bad outcomes.
AI Invades Privacy
AI can listen everywhere simultaneously across various communication channels and existing data fabrics to expose information that individuals would not want available to the public or particular parties. It is scary for most folks and can be used to breach the trust and security of many relationships with individuals, businesses, and the government.
AI Ignites Economic & Geopolitical Competition
AI will be the fuel for competition in the fast-growing digital economies. The nations that harness AI will have a distinct advantage over those that do not. It will likely turn into an arms race of sorts.
AI Enables Laziness & Skills Atrophy
AI will show significant promise and results in assisting organizations and individuals. Specific skills will not be maintained, and people will want AI to do more for them. Some of the skills are mundane, so that might be good, but setting an entitlement attitude is not a great value to deliver from AI.
My Top Ten Encouragements
AI Enables Advanced Automation
Organizations are in love with Automation because of its positive effect on profits. AI will supercharge Automation with smarts, speed, and precision. Operationally, AI will be a big win. Low-level work will be eliminated, and AI will enrich and augment most jobs.
AI is Always On
AI never rests and is available 24/7 if the AI infrastructure and applications are running. People need rest, and AI does not. As AI progresses to higher-level skills, new work classes will inherit a new level of availability.
AI Provides Real-time Knowledge & Wisdom
AI is excellent at providing just-in-time data and integrated, summarized, and massaged information. In the first era of AI, there will be a big emphasis on machine learning, information aggregation, pattern recognition, and knowledge delivery. All of this will help workers and individuals progress in their desired outcomes.
AI Assists in Task Completion
Not only will AI deliver knowledge, but it will also help people make decisions and perform tasks of all kinds. People and bots will be supercharged with additional perceptions, projections, skills, and abilities to take on work over their current station.
AI Specialization & Focus Delivers Precision
AI is so precise on low-level tasks it outperforms most workers. In addition, even when 100% precision is not necessary, AI can give the best alternatives with the best accuracy.
AI Delivers Better & Faster Decisions
AI is so fast and looks across multiple contexts, and it's impressive. Guided AI can find the best alternatives given even conflicting goals within explicit constraints. The data is complete better than other approaches, and alternative algorithms have the best chance of being correct.
AI Boosts Economic Growth
AI increases the productivity of many resources, so profits and GDP will flourish worldwide. Resources will be less stressed, and there will be more free time to generate new products and services.
AI Provides Continuous Monitoring of Results
Since AI never sleeps, KPIs, goals, outcomes, and emergent trends can be watched. AI will encourage continuous feedback, and improvement can be baked into responses.
AI delivers Error Reduction.
AI does not make mistakes at the operational levels and allows tactical and strategic management to get the best results in a modeling way.
AI Can Complete Dangerous Tasks
Tasks that risk the safety of humans can be automated with AI, or humans can be assisted safely.
After putting down my thoughts and thinking deeply about AI, I fear AI long-term. If the control of AI ends up in the hands of bad actors or AI becomes self-aware and disregards its guardrails or constraints, we are in for a wild ride. AI-driven wars where guardrails are removed or mismatched will also cause bad outcomes. AI likely becomes as powerful as nuclear weapons in the hands of both good and bad actors that mutually keep each other at bay. Right now, AI promises to improve our lives, and I see a rosy outlook for the near term. AI will contribute to individuals, groups, and organizations for sure. The long-term evolution and potential misuse keep me up at night. We must forge ahead to stay competitive, but AI must be monitored, governed, and balanced. There will be tremendous and sad stories ahead of us, so keep your eyes open and stay in a learning mode together. Long live AI, but don't take the oxygen out of the room for humans.