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AI: What Are the Main Concerns Surrounding It?

AI needs large sets of clear and transparent data, and appropriate tools, to reduce bias and make suitable decisions. But can it be wrong?
Daniel Zacharias

Matt Sopiars

September 28, 2022
AI

Though we can’t still say that we’re living the AI age, it certainly feels closer than ever. A number of recent events point in that direction. According to the 2022 AI Index, private investment in AI skyrocketed while investment concentration intensified. The U.S. and China dominated cross-country collaborations on AI. Robotic arms are now becoming cheaper and, therefore, more affordable. 

Naturally, AI becoming widespread brings along many challenges that different actors are trying to address. There is more international legislation on artificial intelligence than ever before and there’s a worldwide rise of AI ethics. Language models are more adept than ever but also more biased, so the majority of AI systems are being trained with extra data. 

AI acquires knowledge through machine learning, using the provided data. Said data comes from human experience, which means it’s loaded with various cognitive biases. AI can easily escalate these human biases, thus viciating algorithms and posing a serious issue. It’s only natural, then, that some people are concerned about artificial intelligence and its use.

Collaboration with AI

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is present all around us and is a part of our daily lives. Even though there is still some fear of AI replacing humans in the future, the best and most successful artificial intelligence comes from the collaboration between people and machines. 

To make AI empathetic and able to appropriately respond to customers/users, we need to provide it with the proper human-derived ethical framework. AI needs large sets of clear and transparent data, and appropriate tools, to reduce bias and make suitable decisions. This is precisely why it’s of utter importance for humans to collaborate with artificial intelligence. 

AI in our homes and daily lives

Not sure whether there is AI present in your home? In today’s world – there probably is. 

We’ll start with an easy-to-understand example, a little futuristic but presently available for purchasing. Let’s say you have a trash scanner with voice functionality. It can read the barcodes of the thrown-away items and add them to your grocery list. What’s more, it can let you know what you need to recycle. It can even order groceries from your grocery list online. All of this is thanks to artificial intelligence. The more data we give it, the easier it is for AI to develop further to meet our needs. 

Smart appliances with voice control and wi-fi have artificial intelligence implemented in them – it’s one of the things that make them so smart. To name some: TV, air-conditioning, fridge, stove, air-fryer, instant pot, kitchen hub, stovetop, oven, microwave, coffeemaker, dishwasher, trash scanner, touchless soap dispenser, cleaning/mopping/brooming/vacuuming/lawn mowing robots, sleep trackers, pillows, blinds, outlets, projectors, screens, displays, speakers, lighting/lamps and Alexa.

Main concerns about current AI

Since AI is already present in countless homes and under many guises, it stands to reason that some people are concerned about it. That’s why it’s important to understand those concerns: to address them while creating AI-based solutions and products. Some of the most common issues people have with AI include:

Is artificial intelligence superintelligence?

One of the main concerns regarding present-day artificial intelligence is whether it will surpass human intelligence. We can already witness numerous examples where AI acts independently, without human interaction. 

We can’t omit to mention self-driving cars, a great example of artificial intelligence working alone. It would be foolish to think that AI would never get in an accident or make a mistake since it’s based on data obtained from human interaction. A report states that a great deal of crashes in the past year involved artificial intelligence, therefore proving that it’s still far from perfect. 

We can’t be sure about what the future holds, but we can be sure that AI will be a part of it. But one question remains unanswered: Will humans outlive it?

Will AI replace human intelligence in certain jobs?

This is a valid concern since artificial intelligence has already replaced humans in certain fields and job positions, such as lift operators, cashiers, and factory and warehouse workers. The real debate is whether or not this is good or bad. These jobs are tiring and monotonous, so humans might be better off without them. However, these positions were also a source of income for many people, leaving them jobless. 

Looking into the future, there will be more positions where artificial intelligence will replace human intelligence. Luckily, there are many other jobs for which human intelligence will remain a necessity. 

Is artificial intelligence compromising our privacy?

How secure is our data in the hands of artificial intelligence? Can we trust it, or should we be worried? 

Since this issue has raised many questions and concerns, some legal updates have been introduced, focusing a lot on data protection. Because of this, there has been a substantial increase in cybersecurity investments. Businesses do their best to protect their customers from cyberattacks and data breaches.  

Can AI discriminate based on bias?

The answer to this question would be a giant ‘Yes.’ If not provided with enough data from a specific field, AI can be biased and discriminate based on it. 

As mentioned above, artificial intelligence is based on initially provided data and on data it gathers from interacting with human intelligence. The more it interacts with humans, the more it learns and the more precise it gets. However, that process is far from perfect, as the algorithm can pick up negative perspectives and approaches. 

Using AI in the hiring process has proven this to be true. There is something called algorithmic bias, which can occur due to several factors, including but not restricted to the design of the algorithm or the unplanned or unforeseen use or decisions regarding how data is coded, collected, selected, or used to train the algorithm. 

Amazon reportedly also had a negative experience when they tried using AI for hiring. 

AI ethics risk management

Projects involving AI need to perform a risk assessment and form a shared responsibility model as in cloud projects. This way, the creator and the client will cover their part of the risk. 

The creator should consider risks/audit reports such as SSAE-18, while the client should establish the AI ethical risk program for the internal risk/audit scope management. Companies whose budgets don’t allow forming their ethical risk program can overcome this issue by outsourcing. 

So, should we be worried?

As with everything else – worrying won’t change a thing. Worrying doesn’t solve problems, it creates them. So, what we can do is provide artificial intelligence with enough interaction with human intelligence so it can learn from it. We can train it using even more data. We can anticipate the errors, and when we see them, we will have a vision of how to fix them. 

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