Do the pros of artificial intelligence outweigh the cons?

Would you implement an AI system that led millions of people to feel lonelier?

That resulted in massive unemployment?

That perpetuated inequality and racism?

Freedom from boredom versus unemployment

There is no doubt that artificial intelligence has many benefits. It frees people from repetitive, predictable tasks that could be more easily and safely completed by machines and AI. This would allow people to work on tasks that depend on the human brain’s ability to handle ambiguity. However, freeing people from basic and repetitive tasks could mean massive job losses for factory workers, vehicle drivers, retail sales people, restaurant workers, and many more. Some of those people will be able to turn to alternative careers but a large segment of people could be permanently out of work.

Voice assistants like Alexa and Siri have made finding restaurants, setting alarms, streaming music, reading books, answering predictable questions, and many other trivial tasks far easier and quicker – particularly for people whose hands might be otherwise occupied or who are disabled. Those saved minutes could result in more personal or family time. However, they could also result in job losses as the need for personal assistants decreases, and workers are able to accomplish much more in their limited time. The slow death of the secretary that we’ve seen over the past few years will only intensify.

Improved medical diagnoses versus lack of trust and responsibility

AI has proven its worth in the medical arena, sometimes performing better than human doctors. Among many other examples, AI has demonstrated more accurate incision cutting, development of vastly quicker medical treatment plans, and better predictions of heart attacks and strokes. One researcher shares a story where the error rate of human diagnosis was 3.5% compared to 7.5% for the AI, but together the error rate was brought down to 0.5%.

But ethical issues arise here as well. When should medical specialists trust their gut over technologies that are slowly starting to out-perform them? When is the doctor to blame for trusting AI over their own diagnosis, or vice versa, only to find their decision was incorrect? When do we pursue sanctions for incorrect decisions?

Increased impartiality versus perpetuation of bias

AI has the amazing potential to reduce and even eliminate human biases such as racism, sexism, and various forms of demographic and psychographic-based forms of hate. Supporting our legal,…

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