August 1, 2017 at 6:32 pm #5797
I came across this article recently on how AI is going to be the mother of all disruptions: https://www.city-journal.org/html/mother-all-disruptions-15251.html
It brought up a lot of questions for me that I think are worth discussing on a forum such as this.
The march of AI seems inevitable but are we confident that the people who wield the power of this technology have the requisite consciousness to ensure it is used responsibly? We’re anyway struggling (and often failing) to not be slaves to the technology we already have, especially our laptops and phones. If AI is going to storm into our lives, there’s many questions we need to start looking at right about now:
– Are we happy for robots to prepare and serve our food? Do we value the human touch which in something like serving food embodies a transferring of emotion like love and caring and essentially, life?
– Are we ready to grant a universal basic income? The top 1% may be OK with it but the rest may require a major shift in perspective.
– How would people displaced by AI spend their time? Do we need to get used to new age trends like YouTube celebrities, gaming stars, etc? Would this lead to everyone ultimately just doing things they like?
– Do we need to rethink how we measure our successes as a race/civilisation? Human lives, being part of nature must have their ebb and flow. Are we OK with analysts and experts wanting to see graphs that only go up – constantly rising production, productivity, incomes, etc.?
Ultimately I think the most important reaction to the threat of AI should be for humanity to search ever more deeply for what it is in us that cannot be digitised and mechanised – the search for that humanity and consciousness should be more on fire than ever.
Interested to hear other views.
- This topic was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Shruti Bakshi.
August 1, 2017 at 10:58 pm #5801
There has always been and there will always be a continuous evolution & paradigm shift in the use of technology over a period of time.What appears as a curse at a certain moment, eventually turns out to be a boon later on.
While I really appreciate your concern regarding how AI gonna affect us Humans in our routine life , but I am sure that,as has happened in the past, we will find a mid-way and make peace with the changing trends.
August 2, 2017 at 3:43 pm #5809
Thanks Rahul. The purpose of my post was not to say that doomsday is coming but that I think we need to think about certain issues that are going to come up with AI. They are already coming up e.g. unemployment in many industries.
I agree that in the past people have predicted many doomsdays because of technology which haven’t come to pass but still that’s not to say that everything has gone really well – the environmental degradation, the negative aspects of social media, discontented lifestyles etc only go to show that we have not managed our technology the best possible way.
I think we need to take responsibility for what we want to create, not just let things happen and hope for the best (even if we think that in the end it all works out!).
August 6, 2017 at 5:13 pm #6088
And now the Indian government is preempting driverless car technology from coming onto Indian roads at least in the near term: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/auto/news/industry/driverless-cars-wont-be-allowed-in-india-nitin-gadkari/articleshow/59744519.cms
While I think it’s not the right approach to block technology outright, it does need to be adopted in a measured way, to lessen the negative effects on employment as much as possible.
August 7, 2017 at 9:50 pm #6119
Nora von Ingersleben-SeipParticipant
I agree that AI has the potential to be hugely disruptive, even though some academics working in the field claim that several of the most talked-about potential developments are likely decades away: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/dont-believe-hype-ai-driven-world-still-long-way-off/.
That notwithstanding, I believe we need to think about managing potential disruptions now, as even a few decades will be a short time frame for coming up with the new social, moral, economic, and legal frameworks that will be required to keep human society functioning in the face of the huge changes that will be brought about by AI.
In the near term, one of the biggest issues is the effect that AI will have on employment. As Penn’s Dean of Engineering, Vijay Kumar, points out, jobs in the middle (not those at the top or at the bottom) will be threatened most by robot replacement. This could lead to a further hollowing out of the already embattled middle class, with attendant consequences for global inequality and social stability.
Even if we managed to mediate the economic consequences through a Universal Basic Income (or something similar), we still face the issue that people need to feel useful in order to thrive. Over 2,300 years ago, Aristotle wrote that happiness comes from intellectual contemplation and using our faculties to the fullest extent possible. In other words, if we simply sit around and collect a monthly check for doing nothing, we will be able to survive, but we will be deeply unfulfilled and unhappy.
There are different opinions on the likely trajectory that AI will take and the amount of time it will take for AI-related changes to materialize. Some, like Elon Musk, claim that disruptions are imminent and will be huge; others, like the academics cited above, say that they are a while away and less dramatic than many people expect. However, I think one thing is clear: we cannot begin early enough to think about how we want to manage the changes that lay ahead in order to realize the positive effects of AI and deal with the negative effects in the best way possible.
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