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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Columns

Artificial intelligence not necessarily good for humanity


In the 21st century, technological progression is inevitable, but the advancement of robotics has the potential to be mankind’s downfall.

The avenue of what is considered “human” or “authentic” is changing.

Perception is bending with the introduction of virtual reality, and every year there’s a smarter, faster cellphone to get excited over. The advancement of technology is nowhere near where the Jetsons are, of course. Flying cars and robot maids may not be in our immediate future, but something far more ambitious is in the works.

From Google’s foray into self-driving vehicles to everyday A.I. like Siri, the production of artificial intelligence has become a focal point worldwide. Instant gratification has never been as easy as now when the human aspect of consumerism has been replaced by machines.

A quick trip to the bank or the grocery store without human interaction has become a common occurrence. Artificial intelligence also plays a large part behind the scenes. As labor costs rise and workers begin to demand higher pay, many factories have turned to a cheaper solution called automation.

Robots will see an annual growth of 10 percent in the world’s 25-biggest export nations through 2025, which is up from two percent to three percent each year. This will pay off in lower costs and increased efficiency.

While many people won’t feel the sting of this change for years to come, some already have.

Large banking corporations are set to cut thousands of jobs as they shift toward technology-oriented customer service. This would result in employees losing their job with no idea how to move forward for those who have held their position for years.

Despite the widespread acceptance of advanced robotics, humans have already begun to put themselves at the mercy of artificial intelligence.

Automaker Tesla recently came under fire after Joshua Brown crashed and died while driving his Model S with the autopilot feature on.  Tesla marketed the technology as “vigorously safe and important to its customers.”

In the wake of Brown’s death, Tesla published a blog post saying that the autopilot is still in its testing phase and, upon activation, there is a reminder for drivers to be ready to retake control.

Clearly, Tesla has not taken responsibility for their misleading stamp of approval or its consequences. With Tesla’s shining endorsement, Brown exhibited an implicit trust that his life would be safe in the A.I.’s hands, and he died for it.

Robots, whether for companionship or labor, will one day be a fixed addition in the future of society.

From Pixar’s “Wall-E” to Hollywood blockbusters such as “I, Robot” and the “Terminator” franchise, the outcome is always the same: Humans never fail to transcend themselves and this will become our doom.

Any being with a modicum of intelligence is bound to curiosity, and recent developments point to the creation of artificial humans capable of sentience. Humanity could be headed toward a pampered Utopian society or one where we are outclassed, outsmarted and useless.

The possibility of this doom-and-gloom narrative is certainly not set in stone. Humans have always been able to adapt in even the harshest environmental circumstances. The future, as bright and aspiring as it seems, will always come with its own particular set of hardships.

It will be up to humanity to find a place within a technological society that is meant to outlast them.

Opinion Columnist Caprice Carter is a communication junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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