AI Controls Ours Lives, What Else Are You Willing To Give Up?
What do you think the biggest crisis we as humans face today? Climate crisis, the alt-right, political incompetence? I’m going to disagree and say there is a more pressing issue that needs to be thought about before the others can truly be dealt with. AI because it’s AI that’s going to either make it possible to stop the problems mentioned or make it much worse.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if an AI was released from human control. I’m talking about something similar to the Terminator series and yes, being a fictional story doesn’t negate the fact that the possibility exists.
Did you know AI is used to target you for things like videos, articles or ads?
Did you know AI is used to military vehicles and give them the ability to discern people?
Did you know AI is used for facial recognition which is used in malls today?
All those things should worry you because ‘what happens when AI is given free rein?’.
Now the biggest problem we face is, yes, climate crisis, but when you scratch that off things the human race should be afraid of, we come to the not mainstream enough ‘potential crisis’; AI and the potential they have in altering our way of life and in the extreme causing our extinction.
Now I’m not saying like in the Terminator movie when our version of Skynet is activated, nukes would fly, I’m talking about AI given the freedom to choose how it operates to make better decisions.
YouTube’s algorithm or AI as it really is constantly keeps tabs on every user of the platform whether they are signed in or not. How do we know this? Log out and watch a video, notice that the next videos that appear are videos related to the ones you just watched.
Notice the ads too? Those are catered specifically to you through information it gleans across the things you looked at across the net. You’re public profile and habits is the food the AI gathers to make decisions about what you should see.
But, hey maybe it gets something wrong about you, what does its do then? Try again and if it doesn’t work, make little tweaks until it delivers to you exactly what it knows you want to see.
Is it harmful? Most would say no, but when you consider the hidden (mostly) function that they all share; to show you things you’ll click on as the primary motivation.
That means, sensational things will always be prioritized over everything else. I won’t go into it but I’ll just say, politics, alt-right, conspiracy theories all get peddled because of that. How many of you have been duped because you were peddled the real fake news but couldn’t admit that you were a victim of it.
Been seeing more controversial items in you’re feed lately. Is it causing you emotional pain because it’s something that you may have had feelings existed but couldn’t confront and because of it you feel more and more angry everyday? Anger, that is what divides people into nonsensical tribes.
This weakens and slows, if not halts entirely, progress. This dangerous halting of progress is dangerous because being at a standstill in life creates the conditions to be exploited thanks ignorance.
So what this part had to do with AI was that if AI found the pattern that would separate others into their own infantile tribes, then humanity as a whole weakens.
I also made mention of AI driving military vehicles. This one is the most frightening. Human compulsion compels use to at least consider what the value of human life means to us, AI’s on the other hand have there specific set of criteria, if you fail, well you’re done.
Currently the United States is developing the means to have AI’s drive combat jets, creepily named Skyborg. On board with this plan to have more AI’s given military power is the United Kingdom and Russia, building AI-controlled combat drones and semi-autonomous robot tanks.
Personally, it worries me when AI is given command of this level of power, especially with the United States and Canada’s position on AIs stating that the Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System (ATLAS) program, a branch of DARPA, ‘will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to give ground-combat vehicles autonomous target capabilities’.
Now AI’s being used in malls for facial recognition allows for people who shouldn’t otherwise be present to be found out quickly and removed. This though isn’t the problem. The problem lies within what happens with that information so this turns into not only an AI problem, but also a privacy issue, but we’ll leave privacy aside.
Through attempts at determining the accuracy of AI recognition it was found that attempts at recognizing faces that were either dark-skinned or a woman were inaccurate. So who’s to say that when you’ve been scanned that the authorities who are called, are called to fetch the wrong person.
Imagine now if the AI is accurate to the point of 99.99% and is being used for malicious purposes. Well since there is no regulations on facial recognition the companies or people who own it can do whatever they feel like, be it feeding all the information back to the AI to learn spot you whenever you enter a connected network to dissecting each facial movement you make when thinking about what you’re going to do.
Face it, the camera points forward, looking 360 degrees and it’s perspective is restricted only by walls and ceiling so there’s not much you can do to avoid it’s gaze save for staying home, for now.
AI might not be a danger yet but the potential for it’s danger is high considering how reliant the human race is becoming on it. Just like humans can err, AI’s can err, but it can do so on a much grander scale.
I mean, I think Baymax is cool and all, but should we really be making them sentient when we’ve seen what happens when it goes rogue?
- Veritasium (2019–05–19) “My Video Went Viral, Here’s Why”. YouTube.
- Lewis, Paul (2018) “Fiction is outperforming reality’: how YouTube’s algorithm distorts truth”. The Guardian.
- P. Covington, J. Adams, E. Sargin “Deep Neural Networks for YouTube Recommendations”.
- Robitzski, Dan (2019–03–21) “The Air Force Is Building AI to Fly Fighter Jets Called “Skyborg”. Futurism.
- Gronlund, Kirsten (2019–05–09) “State of AI: Artificial Intelligence, the Military and Increasingly Autonomous Weapons”. Future of Life Institute.
- Vincent, James (2018–04–24) “The future of war will be fought by machines, but will humans still be in charge?”. The Verge
- Sennar, Kumba (2019–03–20) “Facial Recognition Applications — Security, Retail, and Beyond”. Emerj.
- Davis, Jessica (2019–02–11) “The Problem with AI Facial Recognition”. Information Week.
- Ng, Alfred (2019–03–29) “With facial recognition, shoplifting may get you banned in places you’ve never been”. CNET.
- (2018–08–23) “Privacy commissioners to investigate use of facial recognition at Calgary malls”. CBC.