Wed | Oct 4, 2023

AI, friend or foe?

Published:Thursday | June 1, 2023 | 12:39 AM


Over the past several months, numerous articles, news reports and documentaries alike have been dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI) and the possible implications for various sectors, such as education, security, and even the workplace. This is due in part to the rapid development in the capabilities of AI. The calls to regulate the use of AI have intensified in recent weeks, to the point where Hollywood writers and other groups with vested interest staged a series of protests about AI slowly taking over their jobs. Even more recently, experts in AI said it could lead to the extinction of humanity. Two of the ‘godfathers’ of AI have also voiced concerns about the speed at which it is developing. They are concerned that in the wrong hands, AI can be programmed to design weapons with the potential to wipe humanity off the face of the earth. Some have even expressed trepidation that it may reach the point at which it can inflict harm by itself. The movie Terminator and its various sequels come to mind. The movie depicted a future in which humans are in direct conflict with machines that have evolved beyond that for which they were initially designed. I sincerely hope that movie remains fictional, and humans will never experience a world in which we are in direct confrontation with forces capable of such carnage. Stephen Hawking, one of the brightest minds in human history, issued a stark warning in 2014 that AI poses a threat to our very existence. These warnings must not go unheeded; governments need to put in place policies that must be enacted instantaneously to guard against any such implication. The future of the human race must be preserved, whether from AI becoming independent to act on their own, or by individuals with malicious intent using AI to fulfil their pernicious ambitions.