They call it artificial Intelligence (AI), a rapidly evolving technology which can simulate human cognitive abilities such as problem solving and pattern recognition. It has revolutionized countless industries like healthcare and finance, and has the potential to reshape our world in profound ways. However, AI technologies also have several negative consequences that cannot be ignored.
One of which is its potential to exploit security vulnerabilities. As a result of AI’s ubiquity, intelligent systems can be used maliciously by attackers to breach networks and steal information. Hackers can use programs that are powered by AI to circumvent network security measures and encrypt or steal data without detection. AI itself can quickly become vulnerable to hackers, creating a cycle that makes the breaching of sensitive information a constant threat.
Its potential to create a vicious cycle of inequality is another downside of AI. As AI systems gain automation and decision-making abilities, human jobs are being replaced with automation and AI-powered systems. This phenomenon could lead to the elimination of jobs such as manufacturing, fast food service, and other service jobs. Those displaced by these changes would have no other alternative than to retrain themselves in new areas of AI-based work. Not everyone has this luxury, however, which means that technological progress like AI can cause growing social disparities.
In the form of algorithms, AI has already demonstrated a tendency towards bias and discrimination. In most cases, algorithmic bias is unintentional. The problem arises because algorithms may be run on insufficient or biased data sets, leading to unequal conclusions. For example, an algorithm used to identify potential employees may be trained by biased data sets, resulting in a gender or race bias in its selection of candidates. This can result in an uneven playing field which may have long-term consequences for potential candidates.
Moreover, AI has raised numerous ethical and safety issues. AI systems can lead to the creation of autonomous weapons that require no human intervention as it makes its decision to commit absurdly. This lack of personal control could have disastrous consequences, as these types of weapons could potentially be deployed accidentally or against non-combatants during combat. In uncertain environments, losing control of AI-based systems could only exacerbate already-pathogenic conditions.
Reliance on intelligent systems and automation may further lead to a devaluation of human skills. As AI systems have more responsibility for numerous tasks, people are becoming progressively more detached from their positions, reducing their understanding of the manner by which critical activities are conducted. This disengagement could lead to fewer people learning trade skills, which could make it difficult to tackle emerging problems in technology.
The most severe ill-effect of AI could be its potential for misuse. AI systems have the potential for harm if they are employed in a malicious way. Combination with viruses such as malware or distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) could cause significant property damage, data theft, and other critical infrastructure outages. Malevolent actors could use AI as their primary tool for attacking the cyberworld without any human intervention and much greater levels of efficiency.
Although AI is a powerful and potentially world-changing technology, it is clear that ill-effects are possible given the current realities of rapid technological development. Careful study and governance of AI systems and infrastructure are critical to ensure that technological progress through AI systems are managed appropriately and do not have negative long-term consequences.