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Artificial Intelligence Essay Sample

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Artificial Intelligence Essay Sample

Man has gone from primitive to high-tech. In the last century his understanding of machines, electricity, microprocessors, and computer programming has improved tremendously to the point that it is already frightening. There are no bounds to his ability to create new technologies that purportedly aims to make life better but in the long run some of these technologies are harmful to humans. Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) is an example of advanced technology that should not be developed even further because doing so will create sentient AI that will endanger human lives

            This study will take a closer look at AI technology and try to fully understand the implications of pushing the envelope in terms of continually improving present technologies. There is a growing concern that after all of the research and development man will realize that he is simply creating something that he will surely regret. Sentient AI is a good helper for humans, but such experiments should not be pursued.

            Sentient AI could be out of control one day. In the present, AI has replaced millions of workers’ jobs, one can only imagine what the future of AI can bring. The following will address these fears and show that it is not simply then a product of a paranoid mind.

Back to the Future

            One does not require a time machine device to see the future. One only has to closely observe the developing pattern of a particular phenomenon. For example, in order to know what is in store with regards to future developments in the design of computers. Computer design is being upgraded on a yearly basis or even much faster than that, and computers of the future will be much more better, able to store more data, process information at an incredibly fast rate and quadruple the functionality of today’s computer systems.

            If the development of major computer technologies ca be tracked this way then there is no reason why one cannot predict what will happen in the near future when it comes to a related technology which is known by its generic name – Artificial Intelligence. But before going any the further there is a need to investigate the intricacies of AI, and at the same time track the development of current improvements in order to see the future.

Backbone of AI

             The main backbone of AI is a computer having complex software or program. According to the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, AI is the, “…scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines” (Scruggs, 1). AI is created when man builds a machine using this highly-advanced computer as the foundation. In other words, engineers can build a movable parts or robots around the computer. The computer will then be able to move the movable parts and thus create a truly conscious machine; this is the first step towards AI. But there is more.

Sentient AI

            In the 21st century AI is everywhere. It is the system that greets the caller when a sophisticated answering machine receives the call. To the uninitiated it may even seem as if there is a person on the other end of the line answering and at the same redirecting calls. But in truth it is only a computer system waiting for instruction from the alphanumeric keypad of the handset or mobile phone.

            In the above-mentioned example the caller was made to believe that he was talking to a human being but the truth is it was only a machine. In the near future it will become harder and harder to differentiate between man and machine as the robots of the future will become more sentient. Will Knight in his article Intelligent Machines warned that this will be a reality and that there is no stopping scientists and other interest groups from creating fully conscious robots because this is the next logical step. Knight argues that there is no sense of creating so-called artificial intelligence if the machines will not be allowed to make choices. And therefore designers will create sentient robots that will have to choose between two options.

            The first major step to sentient AI is what one can find in modern day aircraft. This type of AI can handle multiple streams of data and it is not waiting for instructions from the user but pre-programmed to react even without human intervention. This is possible because there is not only one system but multiple systems working together and controlled by AI. For example the  AI inside the aircraft can read the altimeter or the instrument measuring the altitude of the plane relative to ground. If the altitude is getting dangerously low the AI will prompt the pilot to increase altitude to prevent crash.

            Then the next step is to take the superb AI from the aircraft and then place it in the body of robot soldier. This soldier will designed like a thinking human being able to analyze the different stimulus that it receives from the environment. Sophisticated computers within the robot can process millions of data and then the robot can decide what to do. Scientists and computer programmers who will love to be known as the first scientist to ever created a human-like robot will not stop working night and day to complete such an invention and they will succeed.

The Problem

            One of the major problems of AI concerns the possibility that machines can go rogue. In the movie The Matrix and The Terminator the two films provided the rationale behind the argument that  AI can rebel against its creator and this is possible in the context of the military. Now, it is no secret that the US Armed Forces are heavily invested in  AI because the line of reasoning is geared towards producing a tool that will do most damage without risking the lives of American soldiers.

            These computer systems that are placed inside robot-soldiers are programmed to defeat the enemy and at the same time protect themselves from harm. In the worst case scenario here is a possibility that these robot-soldiers will learn to adapt and consider humans as their enemy. But this is simply the beginning. Once a state-of-the-art robot with AI makes an error of making humans their enemy, the AI within the machine will make adjustment to their current program and find a way to consolidate strength and this is possible because unlike humans computer can share knowledge with other systems.

In the celebrated work of Ray Kurzweil, he pointed out the following:

As unenhanced humans we do not have the means of sharing the vast patterns of interneuronal connections and neurotransmitter concentration levels that comprise our learning, knowledge, and skills, other than through slow, language-based communication … Machines can pool their resources in ways that humans cannot … machines can more easily and readily aggregate their computational, memory, and communication resources … the Internet is evolving into a worldwide grid of computing resources that can instantly be brought together to form a massive supercomputer (2005, p. 260-261).

The only thing that a rouge robot-soldier will need to do is to hook into a supercomputer; this supercomputer will network with others bringing together the power of the World Wide Web at their disposal. Now, the enemy can read all the information that is in the Internet and can even hack databases of the US Armed Forces, the White House, the Senate, US Healthcare etc. and within a short period know what has to be known about human nature. They can begin their attack or destabilization of any countermeasures.

What is more frightening about machines having AI is not even limited to the US Department of Defense creating a robot-soldier that will one day go rogue and enslave the human race. There is also the possibility that terrorist groups will steal this technology and even with crude modifications can program a machine that will target humans. The same can be released within the US to wreak havoc. Many futurists are already thinking ahead, in fact Isaac Asimov proposed the following rules in order to prevent the creation of a killer robot and he wrote:

  • A robot may not injure a human being or , through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm;
  • A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; and
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law (Knigth, par. 3).

Now, these rules are fine but who can control the actions of terrorists? One has to realize that terrorists do not have the capability of developing highly advanced sentient beings with AI but if the US government will continue funding research to further develop AI technology then someday it will regret its decision when the technology will fall to the wrong hands. Artificial intelligence researcher Steve Grand adds that it is very hard to follow Asimov’s rules as stated above because for machines to have a true type of artificial intelligence then researchers must build one capable of making choices (Knight, par. 5). Thus, the only thing left to do is to stop further research in this field of study.

            Aside from the fact that machines with AI have the capacity to rebel against their human masters, there are other inherent problems that come with increasing the capabilities of AI to go beyond present day applications. In the labor sector alone more and more people are losing their jobs to “thinking” machines. Every year, factories are downsizing and management increases profit by using AI as opposed to using humans.

            According to Philip Atkinson the impact of unemployment is increasing social confusion as explained in the following:

  1. There is no financial security, no one can be sure they will not lose their job. This creates an atmosphere of anxiety and uncertainty.
  2. The sense of identity once supplied by regular employment has been lost. A well paid systemy analyst can become an unpaid job-seeker over night.
  3. Skills and qualifications no longer guarantee employment, which undermines the purpose of schools, colleges and universites.
  4. Rise in crime; poverty; idleness and despair can only increase criminal acitivity.

Moreover, aside from increasing the unemployment rate, AI is the number one culprit in decreasing the level of human interaction which in turn creates a lonelier planet where men and women may never interact even if living under one roof. This is a reality because of answering machines and other automated systems. Consider also that there is now no need to talk to a warm human being in purchasing airline tickets or even other mundane items such as tissue paper, shirts, detergent powder, etc. One only has to log on to a particular website to have the above-mentioned items delivered to their doorstep.

Arguments

            The advocates for improving this technology point to the advantages of having AI   in the manufacturing sector.  They argue in favor for the installation of AI into manufacturing equipment allowing the same to become precision tools. It used to be that car production requires a significant number of laborers. As a result the process is slow and that there are many things to consider aside from the usual problems that come with the manufacturing process. Management needs to deal with the challenges brought about by hundreds or even thousands of people coming in and out every day to work in the factories. Thus, according to those who are in favor of highly advanced technologies to be integrated into their manufacturing systems, AI will definitely help in improving the manufacturing sector making it more cost-efficient.  But as a result many will lose their jobs.

            Philip Atkinson a computer programmer asserts that this is merely the beginning but the nightmare will soon follow and he wrote, “Each job discarded meant improved productivity, and reduced costs. Because of our work, businesses …. become much more efficient, able to supply better goods and services, at a cheaper price. However, it would seem we have wasted our time. Industry and commerce can’t utilize our improvements because there is no demand. There is no demand because people have no money. Nobody has any money, because so many people are out of work” (Atkinson, par. 3). That is one of the most ironic things that can happen to this modern society.

            There are also others who argue that AI can be used to develop war machines that can be used in lieu of human soldiers. In this way American casualties of war will significantly decrease. But Professor Noel Sharkey expressed his concerns and he said that, “…we are beginning to see the first steps towards an international robot arms race … it may not be long before robots become a standard terrorist weapon to replace the suicide bomber” (ScienceDaily, par. 1).  To those who are simply looking at the practicality of sending robots to war instead of human being will have to think again because that same robot can be captured and can be turned against its former masters.

 

 

Conclusion

            It is true that there are advantages to using AI. As shown in the discussion, there are jobs that humans will not be able to perform at such a high level for long stretches of time. There are precision instruments that must be manufactured using the highest standards and human error is no excuse for providing high-quality products. But if this nation will continue to support and fund research to develop AI technology then one day all the people will lose their jobs and there will be no money that will sustain the market economy propagated by machines.

            Thus, for factories there is no question that AI should be used. But the proponent of this study is strongly advocating the banning or putting a complete stop to further research and development of AI technology. There is a possibility that machines containing AI will go rogue someday and attack humans simply because it tries to protect itself. Aside from the possibility of being one day under the rule of machines, there is also mounting evidence that will point to a very unhealthy lifestyle as a result of too much dependence on AI technology. Thus, the government and other concerned citizens must unite before this country will develop the most deadly fighting force that has the ability to think, a sentient machine.

            But there is more than meets the eye when it comes to artificial intelligence. The same can be used to develop intelligent robot-soldiers that can make decisions in the battlefield. This may be practical considering the decrease in the number of casualties but the same technology can fall into the wrong hands and can be used by terrorists in lieu of suicide bombers.


Works Cited

“Artificial Intelligence.” 20 Feb. 2008 Retrieved from <http://www.psych.utoronto.ca/users/

reingold/courses/ai/emotional.html>.

Atkinson “Technology Making it Worse.” <ttp://www.ourcivilisation.com/signs/chap7.htm>

Banerjee, Parthasarathi. “Technology of Culture: the Roadmap of a Journey 5. Undertaken.” AI

      & Society os 21 (2007). 1 Feb. 2008

Crevier, Daniel. AI: The Tumultuous Search for Artificial Intelligence. New York, NY:

            BaicBooks, 1993.

Knight, Will. “Intelligent Machines  Threaten Humankind.”  23 January 2001.

http://news.zdnet.co.uk/hardware/0,1000000091,2083908,00.htm

Kurzweil, Ray. The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. New York: The

Penguin Group, 2005.

McCorduck, Pamela. Machines Who Think. MA: A.K. Peters, Ltd., 2004.

Macstravic, Scott. “Making Artificial Intelligence “Real”.” World Health Care Blog. 16 July

  1. 20 Feb. 2008 <http://www.worldhealthcareblog.org/2007/07/16/making-artificial-intelligence-%E2%80%9Creal%E2%80%9D/>.

ScienceDaily “Killer Military Robots Pose Latest Threat to Humanity, Robotics Expert Warns”

                        ttp://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080226213451.htm

Scruggs, John. “A.I. Researchers Struggle with Human Toll of Automation.” Memphis Bussiness

                        Journal. 28 Jan. 2008. 20 Feb. 2008 Retrieved from

                        <http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/stories/2005/01/31/focus3.html>.

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