Even uber-geeks like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg cannot agree whether the growth of Artificial Intelligence is a threat or a boon to mankind. Clearly, this is a complex, layered issue with no black or white takeaways. That said, much of humanity, whether directly impacted by AI or not, has various degrees of concern. Some of this apprehension may well be “Terminator” and “Matrix” influenced, but that is the stuff of fantasy so, why are we worried about AI?
At one level, the concern is about the future prospects of each individual. Since the industrial revolution, every technological advancement has provoked fears of redundancy and questions like, “Will the machines take my job?” All the hype about an AI-led automated future is provoking suspicions of a looming irrelevance. People worry about being swept away by the wave of technological obsolescence. Not everyone can upskill themselves, and not all who can know what skill to add to stay relevant on the AI age. Will I become the fax machine in the email era?
Then, there is the concern about all of humanity. This is a bigger leap, but when have human fears been anything less than ambitious. When will all the baby AI’s come together and become the Skynet that takes over our planet? How much time will it take for these lines of code to figure out that humans are just 6 Billion data-points, among several Trillion such? Will AI take over the world? Will the human race become unnecessary? Since man learned to gang up and hunt, never has their sense of superiority been challenged as AI seems to do at a conceptual level. The perception of an omniscient, omnipresent power fuels our own insecurity. In this doomsday scenario, AI is almost a vengeful God with the power to write us out of the script.
So, is either scenario likely to happen? Maybe AI has an answer.