Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium
AI is a catalyst for humanity’s greed
most individuals associate the dangers of AI with the entity itself. For example, a Terminator-like creature will come and decimate humanity. However, with human-like AI not a possibility-at least for now-since we haven’t even understood our brains fully, I want to explain how we as humans can negatively use it for our selfish desires rather than the machine itself posing a threat.
AI is an ever-expanding industry that produces an innovation every other week. From facial recognition to synthetic limbs, it’s improving the world in different ways which were only ever imagined in the realm of science fiction. However, even if it advances society in a positive aspect, humanity should still be aware of the consequences, since not everyone has pure intentions. In my opinion, surveillance enhancement from the central power-in our case the government-is the ramification that frightens me most. Our freedom can be taken away without us ever even noticing or anticipating it. This excerpt hopes to present why this is such a major problem as well as some countermeasures that can be taken.
I would like to start off with the American revolution to explain how much society values the right to privacy. Wendy McElroy (2018) explains how “privacy is the virtue that sparked the American Revolution”. Additionally, 3 of the constitutional amendments are founded on the idea of privacy (McElroy, 2018). Not only does this explain how much society values privacy but how the government does not always have the best intentions in mind, or the colonists wouldn’t have to enforce such drastic laws pertaining to privacy. In today’s world, AI’s involvement in surveillance can be seen through the Chinese social credit system (Brundage 2018, pg.45). Essentially, people act on a points system where they get awarded for acting well in society and vice versa (Brundage 2018, pg.45). For example, if you act in a manner that is deemed evil by the government, you can be placed on the blacklist, which can lead to travel restrictions.
Another example is Elon Musk’s potential new product, NeuraLink. It is a brain chip that Musk claims will improve our brain’s efficiency. It is imperative to recognize where these new innovations can lead us. Just recently, Edward Snowden released evidence to the general public that the government is hiding our private information. The government has explained how it doesn’t compromise any individual’s privacy, but this is proof that their statement may not always be true (Brundage 2018, pg.45). For all we know, they can implement a thought tracking device in a brain chip without us ever knowing, since they can contract private companies to perform tasks for them (Jordan, 2020). Even though the government explains how this software would be used for increased personal safety, they can easily use it for their own direct control since AI is in the general sense, a dual-use technology (Jordan, 2020). This can lead to many horror scenarios, such as a 1984-like society as mentioned by Jordan(2020)-maybe even worse-or even a totalitarian state such as North Korea since we wouldn’t explicitly know whether we’re being monitored or not.
In this section, I would like to provide a few solutions which can hopefully help us prevent these dangerous outcomes. Firstly, providing the proper education to general society can help prevent themselves from being placed in a vulnerable state (Brundage 2018, pg.7). Secondly, with machine efficiency and speed increasing at an exponential rate as mentioned by Brundage (2018), more severe consequences should be in place if a compromise of privacy is found by any digital device since it would be too fast for us to notice in most cases. Lastly, but most importantly, before undertaking in a type of social system or purchasing any electronic product, there should be concrete proof of complete privacy with the product. If this cannot be proved to a basic customer, that device or system should not be released to the general public.
To avoid any potential dystopias such as 1984 and with machines being able to think two and a half million times faster than the average human according to Jordan (2020), it is imperative to reaffirm our naturalistic right of privacy to the state and companies alike. Even if AI is making positive strides throughout the world, its dual-use will always make it vulnerable to turpitude and it is important we only use it for pure purposes. Sustaining our privacy is especially vital as it is what our previous generations fought so hard for.
This was a black mirror episode where the characters in the fictional universe were embedded with chips in their napes which surveilled them directly and recorded exactly what they saw every single second. The footage could’ve been traced back and used as evidence against any act deemed unworthy by an individual. Now, we can be heading to an exact scenario such as this unless we emphasize our right to privacy again and advocate it rather than leaving it in the blue
Brundage, Miles, and Shahar Avin. “The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation.” The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation, Feb. 2018, pp. 1–101.
McElroy, W. (2018, December 08). Wendy McElroy: Privacy Is the Virtue That Sparked the American Revolution. Retrieved May 25, 2020, from https://news.bitcoin.com/wendy-mcelroy-privacy-is-the-virtue-that-sparked-the-american-revolution/
Jordan, M. (2020, May 17). Human and Machine Learning. Retrieved May 18, 2020, from h ttps://soundcloud.com/user-226375652/human-and-machine-learning
Jordan, M. (2020, May 24). AI Governance and Policy. Retrieved May 25, 2020, from https://soundcloud.com/user-226375652/ai-governance-and-policy