People have many fears about artificial intelligence (AI) and how it will affect the world. Those fears include robots taking jobs away from people, surveillance systems run amok, and even intelligent machines turning against us and completely wiping out humanity. However, it is short-sighted to ignore the many amazing ways AI could actually improve society.
Although AI will eliminate some jobs, some believe it will create even more new careers. This shift may look like the last major change in the U.S. economy, when huge numbers of people moved from working in agriculture to working in manufacturing and other urban jobs.
AI threatens the jobs of some people more than others, and for once, the people most threatened are not society’s most vulnerable. Jobs that include routine mental work (such as reviewing case law or medical records, the work of lawyers and doctors) is easy to automate. The ability to use common sense and interact with the physical world is tougher to automate, so employees with those kinds of skills won’t be hit as hard as other segments of society.
Although AI can certainly be used by governments or companies to increase their surveillance on the average citizen, it can also be used to fight nefarious surveillance activities and protect privacy. Some are using AI systems to protect healthcare records, secure financial transactions, and even detect digital weak spots before hackers can.
AI can also be used to improve traditional security. We now have smart security cameras and even artificially intelligent robot guards. Lie-detecting border patrol AIs are keeping us safe from international threats, and, though highly controversial, AI is making the world’s military more powerful as well.