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AI: The Future of Mankind

AI: The Future of Mankind

You must have heard the term "Artificial Intelligence" before. John McCarthy, an American computer scientist, coined the term "artificial intelligence" in 1955. This is not a new topic. It has been discussed for decades. But today its popularity is increasing rapidly in the field of technology and business. Many people think that AI is our future, but if we look around we will find that it is not our future but the present. With the development of technology we are somehow connected with AI and also using it.

Let us understand what AI is that experts say is the future of mankind.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science that deals with creating machines that can think and act like humans. It provides machines with the ability to think and learn on its own. Now-a-days, AI is widely used in the manufacturing and automobile sector. Tasks that previously required hundreds of people are now being done much faster and better with AI technology. Apple Siri, Google Maps, Echo, and Self driving cars are the best examples of AI products and applications.

What are Concerns of AI?

AI technology is often described as a black box where data goes in and decisions come out, but no one knows what happens in between. Many companies defend such black boxing, saying they have the right to protect their intellectual property by keeping the code secret. But the problem with AI goes deeper than corporate privacy. Because AI can be wrong and it could be disastrous.

This begs the question: When no one knows how this technology works, can it be trusted?

As AI systems become more powerful, they may outperform human intelligence which could potentially pose a catastrophic risk to safety and security. Poorly designed projects built on faulty data can also have harmful consequences. For example, any error from the use of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare sectors can have disastrous consequences for the victim. Just like "every coin has two sides", AI has both positive and negative effects on society. Along with the benefits AI brings to humanity, there are still many challenges that need to be overcome in order to understand the full potential of this revolutionary technology.

Following are the main challenges faced in use of AI:

Bias and discrimination: The AI system designer feeds the data into the system. The level of “good” or “bad” depends on the data they are trained on and how the algorithms define what is “good” or “bad”.If the data provided is faulty it can create possibilities of biased and discriminatory results due to the flaws from the very beginning.

Data privacy and security: AI is a data-driven technology. The massive amount of data collected from millions of users can be vulnerable to building AI systems. Because of this problem, AI systems can be prone to data breaches and identity threats.

Misuse: AI systems can be misused for other purposes if care is not taken at the design stage. Safety measures should be introduced to avoid adverse effects before it's too late.

Lack of transparency in algorithms: AI systems rely on complex algorithms to make predictions or decisions. It enhances and reproduces the patterns found in training data that make it more difficult for humans to interpret the factors that make decisions or predictions.

Data scarcity: AI works on trained data and it takes a lot of time to label the training data in order to get a quality data set. On top of that, the quality of the data is detrimental in being graded as a good AI system. These would often be the challenges for the new applications or companies. To address all these challenges, ethical guidelines and techniques are developed for using AI responsibly. Before diving into the principles of AI, lets understand what is AI ethics.

What is AI Ethics?

Simply put, ethics means a set of moral principles that govern a person's behaviour to become a good individual. When applied to Artificial Intelligence, it represents the fact that AI systems make safe, transparent and unbiased predictions for all classes of users. AI Ethics is a framework that guides to build AI systems in an ethical manner to benefit the society as a whole. It helps us differentiate between right and wrong, and get fair, reliable predictions based on honesty and integrity.

Why are AI Ethics Important?

Imagine, a robot organising your wardrobe exactly the way you like it or serving you a customised cup of coffee every morning, making your day easier. These machines are products of artificial intelligence. Human-like intelligence has been artificially infused in them to perform human-like tasks. This intelligence, built using mathematical functions and complex algorithms, is still evolving. A renowned futurist Ray Kurtzweil has predicted that by the year 2045 we will have machines smarter than humans. But, is this a good idea? Should AI be used to diagnose cancer? Should it drive your car? What do you think about AI Fighter Pilots? All these things are also possible but some of them might have you worried. The benefits of AI are obvious. We get relevant information, precise directions, and great recommendations. But, the concerns of AI are obvious as the benefits and that call for a turn to ethics in AI. To ensure that AI is used for good things and produces good results, a set of ethical principles have been developed by organisations for the careful adoption of AI technology.

What are the Principles of Ethical AI?

AI facilitates the creation of the next generation workplace that thrives on seamless collaboration between systems and individuals. Responsible use is essential to ensure a positive impact on humanity. Many companies, governments, regulators and other stakeholders have created ethical standards.

But, what standard should we use? Which principles are most important?

Here are some noteworthy principles and guidelines you should put to practice:

Transparency: AI systems should be transparent and explainable. Transparency is often referred to as the solution to the problem of the black box. If we want accountability, we need transparency to find the causes of problematic AI decisions.

Reliability and safety: AI systems must function reliably according to their intended purpose. It should benefit individuals, society, and the environment. It must not be harmful to humans, instead it should do good.

Fairness: AI systems should treat all people fairly, it should be unbiased across all classes of users and respect human rights and diversity

Privacy and security: AI systems must uphold privacy rights and data protection, and ensure the security

Accountability: The AI system lifecycle must be recognizable and accountable for the results of the AI system, and human monitoring of the AI system must also be enabled

Inclusiveness: AI systems should empower everyone and engage more people to achieve a common goal.

AI is an emerging technology and has become a formidable tool in recent years. We cannot predict how it will affect our lives in the future. But, one thing is clear, as Ethics are important in the society we humans live in, it is equally important in the world of AI. In order to prevent AI from becoming rogue and beyond our control, we need to implement ethics into the code so that AI does not overtake human race

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