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AI: Brilliant But Dangerous

Jenna Lawrence | Opinion Editor

Let’s talk about it: what is artificial intelligence? When people think of AI, I’m sure what comes to mind is intelligent robots that can take over the world – or computers and machines that can think for themselves. Technically, AI is the creation of intelligent computer programs and machines. Some common examples of it that we wouldn’t even realize are forms of AI are maps and navigation, autocorrect, and smart speakers. However, as AI becomes increasingly advanced, the dangers and risks it poses also increase.

Although AI can make daily life more convenient, it also poses the threat of causing unemployment for many people. The few examples of common AI technology I mentioned before are methods of making our daily lives easier. We can do things we would have to exert more effort for quicker and without even blinking or thinking. However, as AI robots, technology, and software become more affordable to produce and don’t need all the benefits and services human employees do, it is inevitable that many jobs will become automated and performed by AI. Already, many people prefer self-checkout and options like online shopping, which diminishes the need for human employees who can do the same things.

However, there is a lot of AI technology that can help people with disabilities. Features like Siri and Alexa offer people with hearing and sight disabilities to navigate the internet, send messages, and even transcribe audio. Despite the accessibility features AI introduces, it is also extremely biased. Because AI is made by people and people are inherently biased, there is no question as to why it is programmed this way. There have been instances in which AI has incorrectly identified people of color while they are able to correctly show white people using facial recognition. Additionally, some AI algorithms do not censor slurs on online shopping sites.

There are countless other concerns surrounding AI, such as privacy violations and self-aware AI. It is important for the public to be aware of the risks of artificial intelligence because it can unknowingly harm us, our environment, and society. As of this week, influential technology figures, such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, as well as US lawmakers - one of our own senators in attendance, Richard Blumenthal - gathered in Washington DC to discuss potential parameters and regulations for AI. While they agreed it is crucial to implement regulations on AI, the legislation has not been made yet. It is imperative that legislation is created for this aspect of our society. AI technology is insanely helpful but the risks of it must be taken seriously - and sooner rather than later.


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