Writing 07: Online Censorship

I believe that artificial intelligence is something that should be embraced. We can fear it, but in the end, artificial intelligence will be more and more prevalent in society, so we should be ready for the changes that it will bring about. I believe that there will be many areas of application where artificial intelligence will be more readily accepted, and other areas where it will be more questionable. For example, I can foresee a future in which elderly people in retirement homes might be given a robot that learned how that specific person likes to interact. This is a possible solution for the sad reality that many people in those homes are lonely. Many people can point to the positives and negatives, but every decision has a positive and a negative. We should focus on minimizing the negatives rather than having no solution to a problem. I suppose this was a weird example, but it serves to highlight the (unforeseen) variety of areas that artificial intelligence can and will be applied to. The fact that we lack human power in some industries, can be addressed by artificial intelligence, and this is a good thing. In other areas, artificial intelligence is replacing the already available manpower for the sake of profit. I think that this is not a problem, but as we saw in the readings, there will be a disproportionate redistribution of wealth, which therein lies the problem. We should be happy that computers are minimizing the amount of physical labor that humans have to do, but also address the negative consequences of this change, which our economy is not built to solve on its own. There will be big changes in policy in the near future as artificial intelligence grows and effects society more and more. It will especially get tricky, I think, when people make robots whose intention is not to replace a human doing a physical task, but a human doing an emotional task. Can a human marry a robot, if he/she really likes the robot’s personality (software)? I think this is a question we will have to answer at some point, because neural networks are based on neural networks in biology. As computers’ neural networks develop (AKA become more similar to biology), we will eventually run to a point where even though they may not be materially the same, they work the same or almost the same, to the point where they will be indistinguishable. Thus, computers and humans will have neural networks with the same capabilities, and robots will be able to carry out more than just physical tasks. This is the part of robots that I fear the most. Will they be able to run for political office? What if they CAN run for political office. What if robots do take over, but not in a brutal massacre way. What if they take over the very structure that we have made in order to keep us running as a civilization. What if, in the same way that we may fear speaking back to certain people, we fear speaking back to a robot? Will we need counseling for people who have robot problems? Of course, if these things were to happen, they wouldn’t happen overnight. They would be a series of small changes in policy that expands the domain in which robots are able to operate, and thus, have “freedom.” Many small decisions add up. The same way we have loopholes in law, there will be loopholes that people will use to place robots in situations that no one explicitly prohibited, but the law allows for it. I think that the only way to combat this is to have even more people who are watchful of how robots are used. In the end, humans make the laws. If we wanted such a future to be reality, we will find a way to do it. However, the only thing that stops us from doing that, are people who oppose that. In the end, this is a tricky topic, and so many bad scenarios can play out, but also, just as many positive ones can play out if we are cognizant of how we handle this situation at every step of its development.