Ask ARSE: Should I Be Worried About AI?

We have a very interesting question from a long-time follower of ARSE, so let us indulge them and: Ask ARSE.

"Hi ARSE,
I was wondering about AI and follow Elon Musk pretty closely. He has said some stuff that made me a bit anxious, like the difference between us and AI is like comparing us to monkeys.

Should we be worried at all if that's the case? I mean look at us compared to apes.

Cheers, Rick"

Thanks for the question Rick and reaching out to us,

First thing is first, monkeys are not apes.

Secondly, we have broken your question into some more detailed and specific mini-questions to get to the core of what each issue offers us an individual, not so much as a species. 

We'll begin with the most important...

Will they kill us all?

There have been many a Hollywood movie made about the rogue AI that develops a conscious and seeks to eliminate the destructive human race for its illogical rationale. 

But how much of this is true?

Could intelligent machines be so advanced that they see us as a mistake or a hindrance to a perfect world?

The short answer is yes.

Elon Musk has been a large advocate of having a safeguard against out of control AI, creating the not-for-profit organisation 'OpenAI' that exists purely to safeguard us from the perils of AI in an ever-changing technological landscape. 

In an interview in 2017, Musk said:

“With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon, 

“You know all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water and he’s like, yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon?

"Doesn’t work out.”

Cryptic, and terrifying.

The more we are dependent on technology via devices and give away our information - including voice, face and fingerprint recognition to our devices and blood to sites like Ancestry.com - the more we are allowing AI ample means to select and eradicate us methodically. 

Will they take our jobs?

Automation in labour has been around since before we know when with menial jobs automated to create room for more complex roles in strategy and management. 

Think of the jobs that are both predictable and physical.

They are the jobs that will be given away to automation first and foremost if they have not already, such as the automotive production industry. 

On average these jobs make up 78% of any given developed nation's workforce and chances are if they were going to a machine they have already done so. 

Where it gets a bit murkier is the other 25% or so where work is physical yet unpredictable. 

This is the niche for AI.

An example could be self-driving cars making taxis and rideshare obsolete. 

The risk of unpredictableness in this instance is more so attributed to human error, therefore an automated AI system could remove the need for human drivers.

AI is predictably far superior at avoiding and committing accidents. 

If your job is physical, menial, and requires very little human error then be very afraid. 

Will it affect our humanity?

How exactly will machines affect our communication and relationships?

It has already begun without AI, with the majority of all our communication taking place from screens and in the written word with no body language, register or connection to the people we are talking to.

We even have sex robots closer to the real thing more so now than ever. 

These are having increasingly greater detrimental effects on our humanity and what it means to be a functioning member of a greater society. 

AI has made strides in becoming more attuned to people in conversation. 

Funnily enough, more contact with AI like this in our homes will actually create more "genuine" conversations than we are having now with blank screens as we check out our online shopping. 

Put it this way, today you could shop for new shoes by clicking on a picture of them and checking out. 


However, with AI you could have a complete shopping experience talking to a bot that reads your body language and tone of voice that responds in kind with almost human levels of customer service. 

This is just one instance of how AI can bring back a form to our humanity we have already become disconnected from. 

On the adverse side, people have been proven to be easily fed information by machines to manipulate the reward centres in the brain, one of the features of the new and improved sex dolls we eluded to. 

This can be used to negatively affect the human experience, especially in the online shopping scenario from earlier. 

If you are fed fodder for your brain's reward centre by a machine that reads the cues in your face and voice, it can also use this information to manipulate you into buying more, and more often. 

The ethical treatment of machines with AI is an entirely different kettle of fish with no satisfying answer as yet. 

We think that debate will be raging long into AI already becoming a major part of our lives, so speculation about it is mute or at the very least another discussion for a very different time. 

And that is your crash course in the terrors of AI. 

Was it enough to satiate your yearning?
If not, leave a comment asking ARSE and we will endeavour to answer as we thrust into the deep unknown...

#Space_Aus