Automation is no longer a thing of the future due to the vast developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Currently, 37% of the businesses use AI, and the industry will grow to a $267 billion market by 2027. Uses and application of AI can be commonly seen in most routine activities now. For example, text editors or autocorrect features in Smartphones and applications use AI algorithms. Recommendations on search engines or e-commerce websites are also an innovation made possible with AI. Chatbots, digital assistants, content management on social media apps, etc., are some other AI applications commonly in use. A majority of the industrial and business sectors, such as healthcare, education, retail, automobile, manufacturing, and many more, use AI in some form or the other. Over 25 countries are currently working on designing self-driving vehicles using AI technologies.
Despite numerous applications, there is often a debate on AI being a boon or a bane to society and the environment. Many fear that artificially intelligent machines will soon replace the job roles and requirements of humans. Let us look at the respective reasons behind AI being a blessing or a curse.
What makes AI a Boon?
Reduces Complexity with Better Safety
Data has become a fundamental unit with the developments in cloud technologies and digital systems. The increase in the data volumes and types has also led to the complexity of managing and organizing data. It is no longer possible for humans to manually handle such massive data pieces. AI, in combination with Big Data and cloud technologies, brings down the complexity levels.
AI also reduces the complexities of dangerous activities in specific industries. For example, in mining or construction industries, robots can carry out potentially hazardous tasks to avoid negative consequences on the human workforce. Robots can also work in extreme weather conditions, such as rain or excessive heat, saving many lives. Similarly, exposure to toxic substances while at work causes significant damage to human health. Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled machines are immune to such impacts.
Cybercrimes are up 600% after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a key technology in the design and development of cybersecurity solutions.
There are certain limitations present with the human workforce in terms of the working hours and work environment. Longer working hours for continuous time frames have adverse implications on workers’ efficiency and productivity levels. It is also essential for humans to have adequate breaks in between the work hours to rejuvenate themselves.
Such constraints are not present with intelligent machines and systems. These machines can work continuously 24×7, and the long work hours do not affect the machine’s efficiency. Also, the machines are explicitly developed for tasks using machine learning algorithms and technologies. This leads to no scope of errors assuring higher accuracy and validity of the outcomes.
For example, there is no margin of error in the healthcare sector as a slight error can risk the patient’s life. Giving the wrong treatment to the ailing patient or surgical mistakes during the surgery can have huge repercussions. However, with robots and machines responsible for specific tasks, such as providing medicines to the patients as per the prescription or performing surgical cuts, the chances of errors are lesser. The design of these machines is done with great precision to deal with simple to complex medical procedures. These can also assist in bringing down the workloads on the doctors and medical staff members.
Potential Threats and Concerns of AI – A Bane?
Loss of Jobs and Unemployment
Artificially intelligent machines are still not at par with human rationale and intelligence. However, these machines can perform numerous tasks and activities with higher precision and accuracy than humans. Jobs that involve a higher degree of repetition and low skills are the most vulnerable to replacing Artificial Intelligence (AI) -based machines. Although it looks unlikely that AI will completely take over the human workforce, there can certainly be a shift in the current roles with the emergence of AI-dependent society and economy.
AI has several benefits, uses, and applications in almost all the industrial and business sectors. One of the significant concerns that come with the technology is the high cost. Intelligent machines and systems reduce the complexity and improve the efficiency levels, but there is massive cost spent on the development and training side of the process. Maintenance of these machines is also a costly affair.
No Emotional Intelligence
AI-enabled machines work entirely as per the algorithms and data fed into these systems. Many researchers fear that these machines will take over the human race once they learn to thwart human manipulations. Currently, these machines lack human emotions and sensitivities. Such limitations can become a cause for unpredictable machine actions and outcomes. For example, the creation of robots is to abide by the instructions given by the human operator. The machine’s rationale will not come into the picture if a human instructs the robot in rage or anger. Similar concerns are doing the rounds with autonomous vehicles and their on-road performance. Even after conducting hundreds and thousands of tests, there can be certain unpredictable conditions in the practical scenarios. The machine’s decision may not sync with the emotionally intelligent choices of the human in such cases.
Whenever a new technology emerges, there are usually debates and arguments around the usage of the technology for the human race and the environment. The case is the same with AI. The technology has a lot to offer to the users and the businesses. It is essential to recognize the threats and concerns that may emerge with excessive reliance on technology. It is also necessary to upskill as per the innovations to effectively use and handle the technology.
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