October 17, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI): friend or foe to humanity?

There have been several films acted in the past that tried to be futuristic or depict how the world will be like in the years and decades to come. In some sort of time travel into the future.

One of such films is Irobot, the Sci-Fi movie that that starred Will Smith as the main character.

In the movie, Smith was grossly irritated at the way Robots were running rampage all over the United States, and indeed other parts of the world, doing virtually everything that used to be the exclusive preserve of humans. Humanoid machines now cook and serve food both at people’s homes and restaurants, acted as chauffeurs, bartenders, security men others just like humans.

While most of the populace seemed comfortable with the development, Smith was horrified.

The future Irobot movie tried to depict is already here with us

Granted that machines have not overrun our cities, yet, like in the scale portrayed in the movie, but if policies, feelers and actions going on both behind the scenes and indiscreetly are anything to go by, then people with the same mindset like Will Smith in Irobot should be worried or maybe stating it more appropriately; should indeed be alarmed.


It’s an obvious truism that we will not likely wake up suddenly in a flash to behold the scenery as depicted in Irobot but the fact still remains that will be seeing them in a piecemeal fashion seeping into our homes, offices, streets and virtually everywhere until their population, both software and hardware will start outnumbering some ethnicities.

This is already beginning to happen, from the voice enabled personal assistants in the mold of Siri and Alexa, to the fundamental technologies like behavioral algorithms and the self driven cars.

One major reason why this speculation looks far more realistic than otherwise is the fact that technology is highly progressive and just like the nuclear arms race, most advanced countries will compete with each other on who will have or produce the most sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI).

To worsen the dynamics, the foreign policy of diverse countries will play a key role in spiraling it out of control. While the United States may want to restrict it to certain areas and equally make them expensive, China on its own may decide to mass produce them at rock bottom prices, while countries like North Korea, Iran, Pakistan or Russia will start looking at it from the nuclear or nuke angle.

Already, almost every country of the world today, whether advanced, developing or under developed is suffering from high rate of unemployment, and with the coming of AI, it promises to become worse.

A good example of how AI is displacing humans is the banking sector. The arrival of automated teller machines ATM ultimately led to a lot of retrenchment when many bank workers suddenly became redundant.

We can only wait and watch with baited breaths because the future promises to be very interesting.

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