Today AI is causing a lot of controversial discussions. A lot of tech experts believe that artificial intelligence has the potential to change the world. But at the same time, those same experts don't agree on what kind of an impact this changes will have on the average person. Many believe that people will be much better off with the help of advanced AI systems, while others think it will lead to our inevitable downfall. I think it definitely a danger, although I think there are going to be a couple of different dangers with AI.
The first danger is what Adam D'Angelo covers in his answers. This I think will be the short term danger. How do you stop maniacs take control of technology and wreaking havoc? I think this is going to be a real problem but can and will be solved as we get to know more about these threats and our law enforcement systems continue adapting to the problem at hand.
The one that I am more concerned about is the long term effect AI has on our society. Let's take a second here and think what a society will look like when AI evolves and starts replacing human jobs with machines. As we keep making advances in AI we are going to replace more and more human jobs with robots doing our jobs for us. Companies are racing towards this goal already. Google or Tesla and probably every other car maker is trying to get self-driving cars to market. But thatâ??s great right! I mean who doesn't want to free up the 30 min drive to work every day? But what happens when these self-driving vehicles start replacing transportation jobs? What happens to all those jobs when Amazon replaces the FedEx delivery guy with a drone that drops of packages on your front lawn? IBM Watson is already trying to replace doctors and give much more accurate diagnosis and minimize human error. Great but what do the now unemployable doctors do?
Manufacturing has already replaced much of it humans with robots and will keep slashing human jobs as machines get better at what they do. Service industry is tough to crack, with the nuances of human behavior, but Facebook is taking a crack at this problem with a personalized assistant in "Project M". What happens to the helpful AT&T call center representative when M can change your billing preferences? What happens when Starbucks replaces that courteous barista with a automated machine that pours the drink exactly how you will like it? What happens when the waiter of your restaurant will be replaced by computer ordering system and the chef is actually a robot cook that knows exactly how to make your dish without the cost of a human chef? Think of everyone you interact with and do business with on a day to day basis. Most if not all of them can be replaced by machines with sophisticated AI over the next few decades. What do all those unemployable humans do when whole industries start slashing their jobs en masse? In the recession of 2008 unemployment dipped to only 10%. In the Great Recession unemployment dipped to 25%. What happens when large chunks of our population have their jobs replaced by robots?
It is definitely not a pretty picture but one that we will have to face at some point in the future. And humans will survive. I am in no way trying to say that we are going to be extinct in a few decades. But we will have to figure out a social structure that accommodates for such a paradigm shift in the way we live. AI will mean there is going to be enough resources or manufacturing or services as humans can consume but we are going to have to come up with a way in which all of us are supported by the machines that we build and ensure that our society doesn't drop into anarchy. This is what really scares me about AI.