Every technology breakthrough from the last 100 years has transformed society. Some overnight, and some over decades.
Every one of these has incredible potential for doing amazing things and improving the lives of humans. But, yes we are human, which means there are some humans who are motivated by using these technologies in controversial, illegal, immoral, and even evil ways.
Sticking our head in the sand is not the way to approach new technology.
As you look at the list of technologies above, you see the technology getting more sophisticated and more powerful. And we find the technologies becoming accessible by the general public faster. That’s where our fear is partly stemming from.
We barely understand what we have, yet we are using it.
It’s like a 10 year old behind the wheel of a car. An incredibly powerful tool, with the potential to do great things, but in control of someone who has no sense of the tool, its power, its capabilities, its purpose, its potential for good, and yes its potential for harm.
Yes, while accidents are less common, car accidents still happen, car also allow us to interact with humans outside of our homes. Yes, there are rare accidents, but airplanes have allowed cultures across the world to meet each other. Yes, there are scams, but phones allow us to communicate with people who live in a different city. While there is access to incredible knowledge on the internet, part of that knowledge is related to terrible and evil domains. While hacking is a threat, the smart phone gives the average person access to the world at their fingertips.
Even now, humans continue to figure out all of these technologies, decide societal-appropriate rules and regulations, improve how they work, and reduce the potential for bad.
In many cases, time is what is needed just to explore and experiment. This is where we are now. Literally, every week, we see a new use for AI and a new tool created using AI.
But, AI is also a different type of technology than all the others. The other technologies are physical entities, whereas AI is something that is inside of other technologies. While it can be used by many, there is a very small percent of people that have the capability to use it to create something new. We are putting a lot of faith into a very small number of people and companies. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is something we need to be aware of.
The key to figuring out the place for AI in our society is for the people to understand what it is , how it works, why it works, and where it can have an impact.
AI is a part of every industry on the planet. AI must be also be part of every subject area in our schools. It must be a part of every major in college.