Benefits & Risks of Artificial Intelligence

Everything we love about civilized life is basically created by intelligence, so amplifying the humanity with artificial intelligence has an excellent risk-reward ratio. In this article I consider how to face those risks and how artificial intelligence can solve them.

Let’s start with what we know about artificial intelligence in general. The term “machine intelligence” has a fairly modern definition. It consists of anything that can perform tasks like reasoning, learning, planning, problem perception, etc., which usually require the use of experience with large amounts of data. At first blush, these are all tasks performed by humans. On that note, artificial intelligence does not seem that special, right? However, this is wrong! We have already developed artificially intelligent devices for everything that a human can do such as: Google search, Facebook recommendations, voice assistants, Siri, Amazon Alexa or Home Assistant (a virtual assistant like Ring Video Doorbell, HomeKit), among others. But is all this really AI? Is it something more than just algorithms? And is it helpful to augment our own human intelligence and make us smart? Let me explain.

From Aesthetical Viewpoint

At its most basic level, artificial intelligence is nothing but machines being able to learn and act like humans, in terms of learning from their experiences, and to process information faster and better. For example, if you want to buy a new car, you go to dealers in your area. They show you all the models they offer and tell you how much you’ll need to spend to get a good one. You talk to other people who also have a similar experience in buying cars and they give you offers based on that experience. This gives you a bunch of options but no advice. To be fair, having a lot of information is never the same as having intelligence, so there comes AI! Algorithms are programmed to make decisions about choices in the right way, to match the user’s preferences. We call these methods “learning algorithms” because they perform a task without a clear criteria and try to find patterns in the given data.

As the price increases, so does the number of options available for buyers, and each option gives some degree of guidance. We can understand that AI learns from our past behavior based on what we prefer and wants to achieve in the future. Now, let’s say that you want to buy a new car and the current model is too expensive for you. Fortunately, while looking at multiple competitors, you discover it has a bad reputation. So far, none of them has had any reliability issues and your research tells you that the latest models will come out as reliable as possible and that the previous models will be unreliable. In the end, AI analyzes the data and makes a decision about the ideal machine. From here, there’s still no guarantee it finds what you need and doesn’t recommend any cars until after you’ve bought it.

So how does this work? Well, to put it simply, in order for AI to understand the needs of a person, it needs several pieces of data about your preferences:

1. How often do you watch TV and how many times per day.

2. Do you drive often?

3. What is the time you have.

4. Do you live somewhere where you don’t have access to public transportation?

5. Who you are, what is your age, gender, profession and education?

6. How much money you have?

7. How old you feel?

8. How much you think you have?

9. Can you afford to pay?

10. Would you prefer autonomous control, or would you like a driver?

11. Are you willing by yourself, or would you like to be supervised or self driving?

12. Why?

13. Which means on the road you prefer to listen to music?

14. What do you want to drive in case you cannot decide?

15. Who are the people you know?

Let’s take a look at how artificial intelligence works in real life:

1. Netflix recommends movies based on your viewing history, and the list varies. Basically, Netflix thinks of itself as a recommendation engine. Based on a few metrics: watching time, interest rates, ratings, genres, language, interests, etc. — Netflix understands exactly who might like a movie and suggests it to you.

2. Spotify, iHeart Radio, Pandora, YouTube Music, Apple Music, et cetera, etc., all have content suggestions for particular artists and bands.

3. Uber recommends traffic, weather, traffic or local events based on your location, and other factors. Uber says that it knows a lot about your behavior and it predicts what kind of people you’ll be.

4. Snapchat recommends photos based on your friends. The company has a social graph and uses it to improve its products.

5. Twitter recommends tweets based on your following. As soon as you follow someone or they retweet you, your tweet becomes popular and starts spreading faster than any other tweet on the platform.

6. eBay shows the items you’ve recently purchased similar to what was seen before.

7. Airbnb puts all the listings related to homes nearby. This provides a sense for safety and makes our lives easier.

8. Airbnb’s algorithm uses your location to determine the optimal balance between privacy and community.

9. Facebook recommends friends who you meet on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

10. Search engines use billions of pages on the internet to suggest things and services to users based on our searches, or their activity.

11. WhatsApp sends messages based on your friend lists, location, moods or personal interests.

12. Gmail recommends you the best emails for you based on your account history.

13. Even the Internet Explorer does it for you, suggesting websites for you.

14. Myspace introduces categories for different groups based on characteristics such as hobbies, interests, etc., which they may enjoy.

15. Amazon recommends books to you based on your recommendations made by its customers.

16. Salesforce recommends software for your organization based on historical purchases, activity on your website or similar activity.

17. Spotify recommends playlists to the people you meet, based on the musical tastes you like.

18. If you’re an entrepreneur, you can create an application called Your Business Plan, using technology provided by startups or even existing ones. After creating your app, you’ll receive access to a dashboard with several important features, such as chat, games, etc. Using the same system, anyone is invited to build an application in less than 30 minutes and get a free MVP.

19. Microsoft offers its partners the chance to develop applications on SharePoint without writing a single line of code.

20. GitHub allows everyone to contribute to repositories, similar to open source, but more accessible to the average developer. And the main mission of GitHub is to help developers easily share their knowledge and skills.

21. Slack, Skype, Hangouts and others all allow for communication. When two people are going through a difficult conversation, it is easy for them to talk over video calls.

22. There might be applications that do not require to communicate via video and actually perform some functions that are only possible over the network. That’s why some services are providing APIs that enable third parties to develop custom applications so that they can connect over regular networks.

23. Some companies provide enterprise solutions based on powerful databases. No programming is needed and every database can be connected directly, instead of connecting over the network.

However, I am sure the point of interest here is not to discuss Artificial Neural Networks of course. Instead of neural networks, I think of simple, generic ones that process information without learning, process input, analyze results and make decisions. In fact, when I talk about the world, my mind automatically associates my brain with the word “Brain” because of its structure and its complexity. As I mentioned earlier, a computer takes care of complex decisions with the aid of neural networks and other deep learning methods and my imagination goes wild. With the advent of AI, however, I believe the role of creativity, intuition and intuition is being redefined. While our society is suffering from a high unemployment, technological progress, environmental damage and general poor living standards, advanced technologies like AI could help us survive.

In addition to answering the question of which kind of apps should I download to run my business, AI could help us predict what businesses could thrive in the digital economy. Imagine getting early signals about growth and success. Our minds would be working differently, and not just relying on past experience. Think of Facebook predicting what ads to place next — you wouldn’t need to rely solely on their intuition, instead. Furthermore, we can imagine robots taking orders and delivering packages. Or having robotic doctors working on our illnesses or giving surgery to cure our injuries. Maybe robots doing a better job at diagnosing diseases than doctors. These are only a few examples, but the possibilities are endless.

AI is only beginning to have a huge impact on modern civilization, but this change won’t be abrupt but gradual. Not every field of ours is safe to enter it but it should. Once again, we should ask ourselves: Can human-like AI replace human intellect? Yes, AI can’t replace human intellect. But it can help us to make our lives more comfortable without having to worry about things like jobs, income, health, and the environment. People with low-level skill sets can become great leaders within tech, but without extensive training and experience, they won’t be

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