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AI Fears? Are They Real or Imagined?

Don’t worry. This isn’t a homo sapiens vs. neanderthal situation.

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human and Ai facing off in pop art style
Make AI work for you. Not against you. bundleIQ. image by jeff x DALLE.3

Well, every day seems to bring us new developments in AI and it’s applications. And while these new developments seem to spark excitement and the opportunity for advancements, in all fields of human endeavor, they also create more and more fears.

Are we right to be leery? Afraid? Should we do everything in our power to slow and monitor AI advancements?

Will AI sentient beings sit around one day, watching historical news reels, laughing about how cute we were?

Let’s take a look at the most common fears today and rate them on a scale of 1 to 10. One being a pink bunny rabbit, all cute and cuddly, and not likely to do harm, to 10, being a two-headed T-Rex snapping off our heads and leaving our chewed up bodies all over the lawn.

Common fears are…

Job Displacements: This is something that society must deal with on a consistent basis. New technologies replace old jobs. This is not unique to AI. It’s motor vehicles replacing horses. It’s green energy replacing coal mining. It happens. It is a concern but usually new technologies create more jobs than they eliminate. The trick is in the training. Companies adopting AI tools should also invest in education for their employees to ensure that these new industries and job requirements are available to all. Or train yourself. It’s doable. Fear Scale: 3.

The ‘Archie Bunker Effect’: Discriminatory responses and selection criteria are common problems we’ve seen in AI. However, this is not necessarily the result of the AI engine. It is more likely the fault of the data set that the engine has been trained upon. We need to ensure that all data sets are inclusive, diverse, and unbiased. Start with the data. Then adjust the algorithms. Fear Scale: 6.

Dependence on AI: AI is a new tool that touches on the essence of being human. Will humans be so reliant on AI that they will outsource their creativity, their decision-making, their critical thinking to machines? AI does make us more productive. There is a mystical call to push a button and create. But AI should be viewed as a way to improve our crtical thinking and not out-source it. It’s Augment our Intelligence and not make our intelligence artificial. Let’s not get lazy. Fear Scale: 4.

AI buddies and friends: With remote work and online social connections, it’s easy to envision a world where we stop talking to each other and converse with our chatbots. After all, a chatbot won’t talk back to you, or call you stupid — unless you want it to. You can create a chatbot to support a healthy, informative life style or a conspiracy-fueled, lonely, I’m-right- you’re-wrong, view of the world. This is a concern. We are social creatures and have survived and thrived because of our social connections. We do our best with a free-flow of ideas. Your chatbot can’t share a drink with you. Stay connected. Fear Scale: 5.

Privacy, misinformation, and manipulation: Yep. This is a biggie. AI-generated content, deepfakes, image manipulation, fake video creation all contribute to the spread of false information and the manipulation of public opinion. AI also allows for a quick, efficient, and mass distribution of this fake content. There is a war going on for the very thoughts you have in your head. It’s brainwashing. Cult building. This has to be fought against. These tools are easily manipulated to attack democracy and freedom and individual rights. Efforts to detect and combat AI-generated misinformation must be as important as advancing AI capabilities. Fear Scale: 8.

The big guys get bigger: This can easily evolve into a concentration of power for the countries or corporations or even wealthy individuals that control or harness the power of AI. The intentions of AI is to make individuals more intelligent and productive and efficient, balancing the field for us all. But good intentions are often diverted by power and influence and money. AI needs to be de-centralized and available to all. It should be collaborative. And thankfully, we see countries beginning to work together to address this concern. Keep the AI market open. Fear Scale: 7.

Transparency or hey, what’s in my LLM: Sources are critical to understanding the accuracy and validity of information. Large Language Models (LLM) can be confusing. And opaque. We need to be able to verify our sources and information. This is a critical component to the continued adoption of the technology. The future for LLM’s may be in specially curated and sourced data sets that are reliable. Fear Scale: 4.

Doomsday: C’mon. I know there is a school of thought that AI will lead to our doom. But it’s just a tool. A powerful tool. If there is a doomsday in our future it will come from us. Not AI. Not saying there’s a zero chance here but I’d be much more worried about some of the geo or social political issue we are facing today. Fear Scale: 2.

Hopefully, this helps you relax a little. Got fears we didn’t cover? Smile. It’ll be okay. After all, most things we worry about never come to fruition. We believe AI will be more helpful than harmful, more collaborative than singular, and more fun than worrisome.

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