AI is not only bad – like the Internet, it will not only cost jobs but also create new ones, but we have to watch it with a keen eye
Will AI take over my job? This question is being asked more and more often on Twitter, Google and in the local pub.
Fear of AI technologies has grown at almost the same pace as the technologies themselves.
In a recent poll we conducted with pollster Find Out Now, 68 percent of Brits had begun to worry about AI. While 63 percent believed it could have devastating consequences for humanity.
It is clear that the concern about AI and our future life with it is high. So let’s try to understand what we know now.
Artificial intelligence is already starting to take a noticeable toll on jobs in the UK and around the world.
IBM has stopped hiring jobs it believes could be replaced by AI technology in the coming years. Most impactfully, BT has outlined plans to cut around 55,000 jobs by 2030, 10,000 of which could be replaced by AI.
As someone doing a PhD on blockchains during the crypto hype cycle of 2018, I see many parallels between crypto then and AI today.
There is no doubt that AI will change many aspects of our lives, but we must be wary of both utopia and doomsday scenarios.
AI isn’t just evil, it’s likely to create many jobs just like other technologies before it, and it’s already been used in ways that are having huge positive impacts.
With Sybil, MIT researchers have developed an AI model that can detect future lung cancer risks and help with early diagnosis. Technologies like this have the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives.
Deepfakes can be used to alter actors’ mouths in films, making dubbed films significantly more immersive to non-native speakers. However, like any major technology, such as nuclear power, AI can be a weapon of mass destruction.
Far more often, deepfakes are used for malicious reasons, to pretend to be someone they are not. More than 95 percent of deepfakes are amassed to produce non-consensual pornography.
An AI-generated image of a woman was shared on Reddit, tricking viewers into paying her for illegal content. Claudia, as her creators called her, never existed and all of her photos were created by an AI model.
We all laughed at the fake AI images of the Pope in a white puffer coat and Donald Trump’s arrest.
But these images have now become so realistic that they can fool most people. In the wrong hands, this technology could have far-reaching consequences.
Russia has released false but highly convincing deepfakes in which Ukrainian President Zelenskyy calls on his troops to lay down their arms. There are reports of banks being duped by AI-generated voices from executives asking for money transfers.
Online spaces that require faith to function are in danger of losing it when we can no longer trust what we see with our own eyes.
Two thirds of Brits polled believed we needed to authenticate all image and video content on social media. We agree, which is why we started building frankliapp.com, a platform that ensures every photo and video on it is real.
Protecting online spaces as a place for consuming trusted information is critical. However, it is not just about developing counter-solutions to the threat posed by AI.
The greatest risk that AI poses comes from the environment in which it is developed. There are almost no regulatory guidelines for the development of AI and, above all, for the acquisition of data to build these tools.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made similar outcry and discussed the need for guard rails, but little has been done in the form of policy action so far.
Almost 80 percent of those we spoke to think the AI industry needs more regulation.
But for now, the future of AI is firmly in the control of the tech companies that are developing those technologies. They are driven by market competition, not what is best or right for the British people – or the world.
So we live in the AI Wild West.
We need governments to start enforcing privacy regulations to protect people’s intellectual property from unilateral confiscation by these AI models.
These efforts require global coordination.
Our government should focus on minimizing the impact of AI on the working class as we are already seeing companies keen to shed jobs and increase their profits.
This is not only bad for those who lose their jobs, but also for consumers as they are made guinea pigs for an unproven technology.
The Prime Minister should give privacy and data regulators greater powers as AI will reach every corner of the UK – and every aspect of government.
AI will change our lives, help us live longer and save time and money.
It will cost jobs (some unnecessary) but also create others. And it will also amplify the disinformation war on an unprecedented scale.
We must be careful with the AI and keep an eye on it at all times. This threat is not artificial.
It’s here now – and very real.
- dr Mansoor Ahmed-Rengers is the founder of internet technology company OpenOrigins.