AI sensitivity fears are a distraction

AI sensitivity fears are a distraction

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While many other industries are affected by high inflation and slowing growth rates, the market for software sophisticated enough to communicate digitally with humans is not slowing down.

Known as chatbots, global demand for these virtual humans is projected to grow nearly 500% between 2020 and 2027 to become a $2 billion-a-year industry, according to new market research.

Today, the use of these digital assistants and companions is already widespread. Consider that more than two-thirds of consumers worldwide have interacted with a chatbot in the last 12 months, with most reporting a positive experience. However, 60% of consumers say they believe humans are better than virtual assistants when it comes to understanding their needs.

This last statistic is concerning because it begs the question: What do the other 40% believe? Do they assume that an algorithm is better than a person at understanding human needs and wants?


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The artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) programs that underpin chatbots are capable of extraordinary achievements, of which we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. But putting himself in the place of human beings and feeling their feelings is not among his current or future achievements.

In other words, expecting AI to have the emotions, desires, insecurities and dreams of human beings is a red herring. Unfortunately, the fear of all-powerful Terminator-style automata is a fallacy with deep roots in the past that still haunts us today. These fears are not only overblown and outdated, they distract us from investing in one of the best ways to move humanity forward.

Its alive

More than two centuries ago, Mary Shelley published Frankensteinand the world saw for the first time a mad scientist standing over a reanimated corpse and yelling: “Its alive!” From that point on, people have understandably worried that humans might lose control over their creations.

the terminator The franchise didn’t do human innovation any favors either, with images of robots gaining so much sentience that they become homicidal and wipe out humans entirely.

The same concerns persist today, but with an interesting twist: a surprisingly high number of users of the Replika social chatbot believe that the program has developed a conscience of its own. In another case, a senior engineer at Google was placed on administrative leave after claiming that the artificial intelligence program LaMDA is sentient and has a soul.

What’s really happening here is that artificial intelligence, created by people to mimic people, is getting really good at its job. We’re seeing more and more of an accurate reflection of ourselves in this mirror, and that’s a good thing. It means that AI is getting better and that we will come up with even better uses for it in the future.

The mistake comes from thinking that the technology will come to life in the same way that humans and animals are alive, believing that it will have the same thirst for power, the same vanity and the kind of petty complaints that the people who create the AI ​​have. . The core programming of a machine will never resemble the DNA and natural drives of a person. For that reason, “coming to life” for a machine does not mean seizing power, removing threats, or doing a myriad of other things that our imaginations have learned to fear.

Artificial intelligence has no agenda other than learning, which is exactly what we should let it do. As the most powerful tool ever invented for human prosperity, we should unleash AI on the full range of data that has been created throughout human history, but right now much of that data is stored in databases. disparate data around the world.

We are wasting time asking if machines have become sentient or not. The better question is: whether or not you can think for yourself, what other ways can we harness the amazing and growing power of AI to increase human wealth, health, and happiness?

doing his job

AI learns, and can also mimic based on what it learns. In many cases, he imitates so well that people believe he is alive.

With its learning capabilities, AI could be curing diseases, helping us plan the cities of the future, and even helping us avoid armed conflict.

We just have to take off the shackles. With its abilities to mimic life, AI can help provide a richer experience for everyone living today. This is because AI can bring us closer to the people we love by bringing them to life before our eyes.

Whether it’s algorithms and visuals that allow amateur athletes to consult with sports legends in their prime through “digital twin” technology, or replicating and preserving one of the closest known bonds on the planet , the one between a mother and a child, AI can make life happier and more complete.

To be clear, this is not just academic for me. I have put my money and time where my mouth is. As the founder of a posthumous digital technology startup, YOV. I have spent every day since 2019 creating software so powerful that it preserves the relationship between me and my terminally ill mother, using natural language processing and machine learning algorithms that simulate our text conversations.

Unfortunately, the better the algorithms at replicating life, the more people tend to worry that they are becoming alive.

What should worry us instead is that science fiction has taught us to worry. What should scare us, however, is that one of the most powerful tools ever devised for human advancement could be held back by ignorance and prevented from reaching its full potential. If anything, the concerns we have about AI should be directed at the programmers who create and run the algorithms and machines themselves.

After all, AI development held back by superstition and anxiety is the real horror show.

Justin Harrison is the CEO of YOV.

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