5 Common Misconceptions About AI

1. AI is the end of humanity

The media has been quick at portraying AI as the end of humanity. Oftentimes we’re provided with articles accompanied by images of the Terminator, as if the movie is a clear representation of the future of AI. It gives us the impression that robots will one day turn against us and cause mass destruction. My point is, this is not the case. In fact, experts aren’t even concerned about the possibility of this occurring. You see, the issue is that a lot of people have major misconceptions about the consciousness of robots and AI and people oftentimes believe that they can “turn” evil.. However, in reality, a super intelligent AI is designed to reach certain “goals”, whatever they may be. We just need to make sure that these goals are aligned with ours. We have to keep in mind, that consciousness and intelligence aren’t the same. AI refers to the intelligence, which is “the ability to solve problems in a domain” and not about the consciousness that humans have.

2. A conscious AI is being developed

No publishing AI experts are actually trying to develop an AI with a conscious mind, because reality is, that they don’t even know how to do it! As exciting and scary as it would be, it is definitely not happening right now. Physicists say that atoms can be arranged in a way that they do much more effective computations than humans can do, so in the future, it would be possible to create a super intelligent AI, maybe with a conscious mind. But at the moment, it just isn’t reality. We like to imagine that these AIs would be like us — with a conscience, with morals and with an ego. However, since we are building these machines, we don’t give them any of the human attributes. The whole point is to build a machine that can comprehend and solve the most complex issues without actually having any more sense of self-awareness than a hotdog.

3. A human-level AI is coming soon

A lot of people think that a human-level AI is reality very soon, but that’s not the case. AI technology, although still in its early stages, is clearly present in today’s world and it will definitely be a substantial part of our future. The type of AI that we use today is fairly poor compared to the human-level AI/AGI. In fact, AI research and development has been going on for about 50 years at this point, and the improvements have only just started picking up. It takes an incredibly long time for an AI developer to make it work in particular type of situation.

4. AI is better than the human brain

As I mentioned before, we love to put AI up against human capabilities. In the media, we’re oftentimes confronted with the scenario of machines against humans, just like in the Terminator. However, fact is that AI and humans have different skill sets. Human beings are good at judging and finding reason within a certain context, whereas AI is good at dealing with methods of computation that we aren’t capable of.

5. AI will result in mass unemployment

Let’s be real here- certain types of machine learning and automation are already being used in quite a few professions. For example, we now have self-driving cars that might make truck drivers completely redundant, we use touch machines at McDonalds instead of cashiers and we use larger machinery in factories instead of blue collar workers to produce many of our goods. It’s very much understandable why some people feel scared about losing their jobs in the future, because some jobs will be lost and are lost every day. HOWEVER, a lot of these losses are due to new technological advancements in automation, believe it or not, is not AI. Also, keep in mind that AI still doesn’t possess the universal intelligence and all the different skill sets that we humans do. When an AI is being developed, it’s developed for a very concrete task- to drive a car, or give you directions. The lower skilled jobs that can be taken over by machines, will need managing instead- creation of new jobs!