Artificial Intelligence may be coming sooner than we think: What power does it hold?

A pro and con about the advantages and disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence

Pro:

By Ben Frederick

Junior Electrical Engineering major

Artificial intelligence is rapidly approaching. With large leaps in technology in the last few years, many people think a fully functioning AI is less than 10 years away. This is great, and yet, terrifying news. A lot can be accomplished with this type of tool, but if used in the wrong way, it can be equally as devastating.

That brings about the question: Should humanity go through with this and if they do, how should it be carried out? Throughout history, humanity has shown that if it has the capability to invent something, it will eventually be created —  even if that new invention is not in the best interest of mankind. For example, look at the atomic bomb. Man had the ability to create it and did.

Many people to this day say it should not have been invented and that it brought mankind closer to its own destruction. For that reason, artificial intelligence will be created no matter what, even if people are against it. Progress can never be stopped. It can be slowed for a period of time, but it eventually will win.

Thus, the next question is when this new technology is invented, how should it be brought to life? What morals should it have? No matter what, it will have the ability to nudge its user in one direction on the moral spectrum.

Who should get to choose which way that goes? If the programmer does it, then it gives a lot of power to the programmer with the ability to directly affect customers and almost control their decisions for them. If the programmer chooses to code the machine to have the best interest of mankind in it, it could make decisions that hurt the user, but help mankind.

In a situation with a fully functioning self-driving car with an AI programmed to make utilitarian decisions, it could make a choice to save more lives and put the user’s life at risk or even kill the user. That is a bit of a problem when trying to sell these types of products to people.

Most people do not like a product that may try to randomly kill you when you use it. Many people would not like that solution, but when looking at the grand scheme of humanity and the use of this technology, this method would probably be the best in the long run. It would keep the majority of the people safe instead of threatening the lives of the many.

Then, there is the possibility to program the machine to nudge the user in the “wrong” direction on the moral scale. The first problem with that is who gets to define what is wrong and right when it comes to these issues. The second, and more obvious, issue is how does mankind know who handles it if these new machines are nudging and influencing us in the wrong direction.

These decisions cannot be left up to one person. This is something that engineers and scientists need to work on with the public in order to to figure out what direction they want to push mankind.

There are more problems with this new technology than there are answers  at this moment. Luckily, it is still many years away, but it is something that mankind must start to question and consider because it will be here before you even realize it.
Con:

By Lily Horn

Freshman Exercise Science major

Artificial intelligence, also known as AI, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, compared to natural intelligence presented by humans.

In this digital age, we encounter forms of AI in our everyday lives.

Some forms of artificial intelligence are smartphones, social media feeds, music and media streaming services, and smart cars.

Tools like these are great and can simplify mundane tasks in our lives. They can also allow us to do much more at once. But can AI actually be harmful in ways that we have not considered?

Print journalism is a way of reporting news, like in newspapers and magazines. There has been a rising concern on how AI is affecting print journalism. For example, AI is aiding news writers in a number of ways. Additionally, it has the ability to filter media workflows, track down breaking news, help with research, connect information and eliminate fraudulent news. AI can even create articles from raw data alone. This may all sound beneficial, but using AI in writing has its downsides.

Most noticeably, it requires much less effort from real writers. Sure, this new technology may ease the writing process, but it makes these pieces of writing much less authentic and personal. Real people may have created AI, but it does not mean it thinks as a real human would. These “robots,” for lack of a better word, are taking away the sincerity that individually written articles exhibit. I believe that quality beats quantity in this case. I would much rather read a piece of writing made by someone who truly feels some way about the topic.

In contrast, AI sometimes fails to remain objective when reporting on hot topics. Although real people can filter what data these machines collect, some pieces of information can still slip by, blurring fact from fiction if not proofread carefully.

As a result, false news can spread quickly through social media and evoke strong emotion in individuals based on unsupported claims. Although newsrooms want to report breaking reports in a timely manner, the rush of releasing it to the public can lower writers’ standards in terms of quality and accuracy.

All in all, AI has its benefits and its flaws when it comes to writing. This form of intelligence will not be going away and will most likely only have more influence in the coming years. It is in the reader’s best interest to take information with a grain of salt and check facts carefully.

On the bright side, AI is still in its early stages and can only be improved from here.

AI may be useful in the newsroom but it does not undermine the greatness of quality writers. Writing should not be seen as a lost art. Talented journalists are needed and not to be taken for granted.

 

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