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The Future is Yours? An AI impact analysis

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Digital technologies are evolving at the speed of lightning, opening up ever more possibilities and opportunities, supported by a seemingly limitless faith in the power of technology, and a belief that it will be technology that will save humanity, and the planet. Between 2015 and 2021 investment in AI has increased from $12.75 billion to $93.5, and its capabilities are progressing fast.

Is anyone asking whether it may be Pandora’s Box that we are opening, wider and wider? Is anyone concerned about the fact that the evolution of technology, particularly AI, is outpacing the required regulation and legislation, by far? Perhaps more disconcerting is the question whether our morals and ethics can keep up with the new challenges that arise from the possibilities and opportunities that these new technologies bring. 

Like all technology (and innovation), AI per se is neither good nor bad. It depends what we do with it (how we program it …), and what boundaries are set. Though of course the best boundaries need to be adhered to, and particularly those who are malevolent don’t care too much about them… Concerns are,

Limitless fakeability

AI and all things digital can be hacked, and manipulated; nowadays it can be manipulated with such skill that it becomes almost impossible to find the truth (or the original state) once it has been altered. 

Power hungry

While blockchain was created to provide a traceable ‘truth’, (environmental) sustainability is questionable as the energy consumption associated with it is rather alarming. According the University of Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, the global bitcoin network currently (2020) consumes about 80 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, roughly equal to the annual output of 23 coal-fired power plants, or close to what is consumed by the nation of Finland.

Biased

Biases are talked a lot about in the context of AI, and rightly so. If AI builds on the information it is fed, then, logically, it will build on and amplify the biases it is being fed.

Considered to speak ‘the truth

It is alarming to observe that those listening to the answers provided by AI believe this to be ‘the truth’. First hand experience of conversations with Leta reveal that as long as questions are about facts fo which there is only one answer, the answers is, not surprisingly, the same how ever many times the question is asked. However, when it is questions such as ‘what is your favourite music’, ‘is there a good’ and such like, the answer will vary, every time.

We humans have created technologies that are well and truly beyond not only our understanding, but, more critically, our ethics and morality.

Here the link to a short story of a future towards which we seem to be en course.  All technologies describes in the scenario already exist, at least in some shape or form, relevant references are provided.

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