AI – The Risks and Benefits in the Near and Medium Term

Category Computer Science

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AI technology can bring both positive and negative changes to the workplace and society. In the near and medium term, AI systems are primarily a threat to manufacturing and professional jobs as they can replace humans in many positions; it also has the potential to revolutionize learning in educational settings. The risks posed by AI must be balanced against the potential gains be made from its implementation.

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Since the AI chatbot ChatGPT was released in 2020, we've been hearing about the threat posed by artificial intelligence. A statement signed by academic experts and tech industry figures even branded AI an "extinction risk." But whatever you think of such warnings, an existential threat to humanity is likely to be a threat only in the longer term. There are much more tangible risks in the near and medium term. So what are these and how worried should we be? .

AI systems are more accurate and faster than humans in tasks such as data analysis, image analysis and medical diagnostics

One longstanding and often-raised concern is the possibility that AI could take our jobs away. This is something I've been considering since 1997, when I wrote my first artificial intelligence paper on neural networks. Our aim was to develop an intelligent manufacturing machine that is more capable than humans at detecting faults during machining operations. This would make the production system more efficient. At that time, we wondered whether this would cause people to become unemployed when machines displaced humans on the shop floor. However, automation and other advances created new job opportunities for people, such as programming the machines. So, an answer to the quick pace of change in technology can be to retrain people for the new roles that technological disruption creates.

AI can be used as an tool to enhance existing human capabilities by providing insights and allowing for faster decision making

It's not just manufacturing jobs that are at risk. AI image creation software has been the subject of claims that it could put artists and designers out of work. However, again I think history offers some lessons. The invention of photography did not replace painting and I don't believe image generators will either. It's unlikely that AI systems will be able to produce novel artistic works in the short to medium term.

As AI capabilities evolve, new skills such as AI programming are becoming increasingly in demand

It's possible, however, that in the medium term, machines could replace humans in many work positions. For example, in medicine, AI systems could integrate laboratory results, medical images and a patient's medical history to provide a reliable diagnosis and prognosis. They could also replace humans for many of the tasks carried out in surgery. Other fields that could eventually depend on AI include market data analysis, investment decisions and computer programming.

AI can already be used to automate certain tedious or dangerous tasks, such as factory work

Despite the risks of unemployment, AI could have many positive effects in the workplace. For example, AI can act as a tool to enhance human capabilities, resulting in greater productivity. In the short to medium term, the technology could have a similar impact to that of calculators in the 1970s, to the computers that replaced typewriters in the 1980s and the automation and robotics that transformed many factories in the 1990s.

AI has and will likely continue to cause disruption in the job market, with jobs being replaced or made obsolete by the technology

Bad education? In education, there have been concerns that ChatGPT could negatively affect the learning process of students, or their health. For example, a student could ask ChatGPT to write their coursework for them, bypassing the research and writing effort that leads to a better understanding of the topic in question. Perhaps a better approach would be to modify and enhance how we teach and assess the outcomes of learning. Making education more focused on practical skills and the implementation of knowledge in problem solving could ensure a deeper understanding on the part of the students.

AI could be used in education to personalize the learning experience for each student or to automate the grading process

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