Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a computer system which learns from the experiences it encounters. It can adjust on its own to new inputs, allowing it to perform tasks in a way that is similar to what a human would do. How we have defined AI over the years has changed, as have the tasks we’ve had these machines complete.
As a term, artificial intelligence was defined in 1956. With increasing levels of data being processed, improved storage capabilities, and the development of advanced algorithms, AI can now mimic human reasoning. AI personal assistants, like Siri or Alexa, have been around for military purposes since 2003.
With these artificial intelligence pros and cons, it is important to think of this technology as a decision support system. It is not the type of AI from science-fiction stories which attempts to rule the world by dominating the human race.
List of the Pros of Artificial Intelligence
1. Artificial intelligence completes routine tasks with ease.
Many of the tasks that we complete every day are repetitive. That repetition helps us to get into a routine and positive work flow. It also takes up a lot of our time. With AI, the repetitive tasks can be automated, finely tuning the equipment to work for extended time periods to complete the work. That allows human workers to focus on the more creative elements of their job responsibilities.
2. Artificial intelligence can work indefinitely.
Human workers are typically good for 8-10 hours of production every day. Artificial intelligence can continue operating for an indefinite time period. As long as there is a power resource available to it, and the equipment is properly cared for, AI machines do not experience the same dips in productivity that human workers experience when they get tired at the end of the day.
3. Artificial intelligence makes fewer errors.
AI is important within certain fields and industries where accuracy or precision is the top priority. When there are no margins for error, these machines are able to breakdown complicated math constructs into practical actions faster, and with more accuracy, when compared to human workers.
4. Artificial intelligence helps us to explore.
There are many places in our universe where it would be unsafe, if not impossible, for humans to see. AI makes it possible for us to learn more about these places, which furthers our species knowledge database. We can explore the deepest parts of the ocean because of AI. We can journey to inhospitable planets because of AI. We can even find new resources to consume because of this technology.
5. Artificial intelligence can be used by anyone.
There are multiple ways that the average person can embrace the benefits of AI every day. With smart homes powered by AI, thermostat and energy regulation helps to cut the monthly utility bill. Augmented reality allows consumers to picture items in their own home without purchasing them first. When it is correctly applied, our perception of reality is enhanced, which creates a positive personal experience.
6. Artificial intelligence makes us become more productive.
AI creates a new standard for productivity. It will also make each one of us more productive as well. If you are texting someone or using word processing software to write a report and a misspelled word is automatically corrected, then you’ve just experienced a time benefit because of AI. An artificial intelligence can sift through petabytes of information, which is something the human brain is just not designed to do.
7. Artificial intelligence could make us healthier.
Every industry benefits from the presence and use of AI. We can use AI to establish healthier eating habits or to get more exercise. It can be used to diagnose certain diseases or recommends a treatment plan for something already diagnosed. In the future, AI might even assist physicians who are conducting a surgical procedure.
8. Artificial intelligence extends the human experience.
With an AI helping each of us, we have the power to do more, be more, and explore more than ever before. In some ways, this evolutionary process could be our destiny. Some believe that computers and humanity are not separate, but instead a single, cognitive unit that already works together for the betterment of all. Through AI, people who are blind can now see. Those who are deaf can now hear. We become better because we have a greater capacity to do thins.
List of the Cons of Artificial Intelligence
1. Artificial intelligence comes with a steep price tag.
A new artificial intelligence is costly to build. Although the price is coming down, individual developments can still be as high as $300,000 for a basic AI. For small businesses operating on tight margins or low initial capital, it may be difficult to find the cash necessary to take advantage of the benefits which AI can bring. For larger companies, the cost of AI may be much higher, depending upon the scope of the project.
2. Artificial intelligence will reduce employment opportunities.
There will be jobs gained because of AI. There will also be jobs lost because of it. Any job which features repetitive tasks as part of its duties is at-risk of being replaced by an artificial intelligence in the future. In 2017, Gartner predicted that 500,000 net jobs would be created because of AI. On the other end of the spectrum, up to 900,000 jobs could be lost because of it. Those figures are for jobs only within the United States.
3. Artificial intelligence will be tasked with its own decisions.
One of the greatest threats we face with AI is its decision-making mechanism. An AI is only as intelligent and insightful as the individuals responsible for its initial programming. That means there could be a certain bias found within is mechanisms when it is time to make an important decision. In 2014, an active shooter situation caused people to call Uber to escape the area. Instead of recognizing the dangerous situation, the algorithm Uber used saw a spike in demand, so it decided to increase prices.
4. Artificial intelligence lacks creativity.
We can program robots to perform creative tasks. Where we stall out in the evolution of AI is creating an intelligence which can be originally creative on its own. Our current AI matches the creativity of its creator. Because there is a lack of creativity, there tends to be a lack of empathy as well. That means the decision of an AI is based on what the best possible analytical solution happens to be, which may not always be the correct decision to make.
5. Artificial intelligence can lack improvement.
An artificial intelligence may be able to change how it reacts in certain situations, much like a child stops touching a hot stove after being burned by it. What it does not do is alter its perceptions, responses, or reactions when there is a changing environment. There is an inability to distinguish specific bits of information observed beyond the data generated by that direct observation.
6. Artificial intelligence can be inaccurate.
Machine translations have become an important tool in our quest to communicate with one another universally. The only problem with these translations is that they must be reviewed by humans because the words, not the intent of the words, is what machines translate. Without a review by a trained human translator, the information received from a machine translation may be inaccurate or insensitive, creating more problems instead of fewer with our overall communication.
7. Artificial intelligence changes the power structure of societies.
Because AI offers the potential to change industries and the way we live in numerous ways, societies experience a power shift when it becomes the dominant force. Those who can create or control this technology are the ones who will be able to steer society toward their personal vision of how people should be. It also removes the humanity out of certain decisions, like the idea of having autonomous AI responsible for warfare without humans actually initiating the act of violence.
8. Artificial intelligence treats humanity as a commodity.
When we look at the possible outcomes of AI on today’s world, the debate is often about how many people benefit compared to how many people will not. The danger here is that people are treated as a commodity. Businesses are already doing this, looking at the commodity of automation through AI as a better investment than the commodity of human workers. If we begin to perceive ourselves as a commodity only, then AI will too, and the outcome of that decision could be unpredictable.
These artificial intelligence pros and cons show us that our world can benefit from its presence in a variety of ways. There are also many potential dangers which come with this technology. Jobs may be created, but jobs will be lost. Lives could be saved, but lives could also be lost. That is why the technologies behind AI must be made available to everyone. If only a few hold the power of AI, then the world could become a very different place in a short period of time.
About the Author of this Article
Natalie Regoli is a seasoned writer, who is also our editor-in-chief. Vittana's goal is to publish high quality content on some of the biggest issues that our world faces. If you would like to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.