Home / Disruptive Technology / Towards the Future with Artificial Intelligence [McMillan, Alexander]

Towards the Future with Artificial Intelligence [McMillan, Alexander]

All of us are are familiar with trivial versions of artificial intelligence, be it the adaptive cruise control systems implemented in modern vehicles, computing systems that suggest music or movie titles based on our perceived tastes, or corporate hotel computing systems that sell rooms based upon the computing systems “experience.”

AI has the potential to be pervasive within every aspect of our lives. In a data-drive world, AI is the technology that can use its past “experiences” to accurately predict future outcomes and make decisions based upon those desired outcomes.

For example, AI might find an increased role in commercial farming to boost crop yields based upon historical yields, historical trends in weather data, and historical soil data. In such a deployment, AI could decide when seeds should be planted, plants should be watered, and food should be harvested [1].

A second example for AI might include the predictive maintenance of an aircraft, or as in the Watson IBM commercials, an elevator – these same principles could apply to conduct predictive maintenance and diagnoses on us as humans as well [2].

In the aforementioned examples AI is a technology that is used to better our world by increasing efficiency to manage scarce resources, be it food, or productivity, and by helping us to mitigate disease before we develop symptoms .

Imagine now the situations in which AI could be used for unsavory purposes. A particular case that uses AI and data augmented modeling might be the usage social media data to manipulate public opinion and sway electorates towards certain political positions – we saw this in the national election of 2016.

An equally concerning usage of AI is its usage to breach outer barriers of sensitive computer networks that house medical or personally identifying information, and networks that run or telecommunications and power infrastructure. Imagine an AI system conducts a barrage of attacks, and with each success, or even failure, the AI is able to refine its cyber-attack capabilities in much the same way as a human would, but at an accelerated pace [3]. A malevolent AI system can therefore dynamically predict the vulnerabilities of our networks and exploit those vulnerabilities to obtain command an d control of our data storage/warehousing and infrastructure systems.

AI is a game-changing technology that can be used for both beneficent and malicious purposes. Its positive applications will enable better management of scarce resources, while its negative applications could disrupt, and destroy, the very social and technological infrastructure that underpins the operations and development of the word.

[1] https://www.inc.com/magazine/201707/amy-webb/artificial-intelligence-reshaping-business.html


[3] https://www.engadget.com/2016/06/28/combat-ai-beats-air-force-experts/

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