Any serious conversation about AI also needs to take into consideration the role of deep fake using AI to wreak havoc among society and even intruding into private spaces for monetary and other gains.
The development of digital technology based on chip computing and software technology has allowed people to perform tasks using machines that normally require human intelligence, visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and communication between different languages. When this capability is combined with data analytics and bioengineering, we have a system that can replace the capabilities of humans to function, with equal or better efficiency, in many areas. Machine Learning enhanced this capability where Artificial Intelligence or AI is enabled to learn from its actions.
Probably one of the biggest impacts of AI and evidently is in the field of healthcare. It has speeded up diagnosis and helped in quick and targeted treatment. Follow-up and monitoring have been made easier; it has also helped research and development of new drugs in quick time. A combination of widespread data collection, AI, biotechnology, bioengineering and gene engineering creates great potential for reengineering human bodies. This may come as a relief in treating diseases, but the whole combined technological advancement may doom the human race by providing the power to re-engineer human bodies and brains or by creating completely nonorganic entities combined with AI to replace the brain completely. This field of cybernetics which combines computing and biotechnologies will produce biorobots that will function exactly like humans devoid of pain and such emotions. A very dangerous prospect with the potential to destroy the human race itself. Such technologies will initially create a different class system as only the rich can afford, say, the anti-aging procedures or brain enhancement with augmented AI.
For a long time around the world, AI has been seen as the next big military advantage. An icy war advanced well beyond the Cold War. As far back as 2017 China had declared AI as a major strategy to enhance international competitiveness and protect national security. It is widely perceived that whoever controls the AI ecosystem will be in control of the world. AI is employed in a wide range of activities, from making the smartest and deadliest weapon systems to digital AI warriors to penetrate inland energy distribution systems and even the banking and finance space of nations to render them useless. The military applications of AI are obvious. Using offensive regression analytical methods, enemy weapons can be neutralized while giving their own weapon system multifaceted techniques rendering them more lethal. Other uses are to nullify the attack weapons electronically, a more efficient air defiance dome in Israel's enemy weapon capabilities for cataloguing the potential targets on our side.
Considering AI as a new frontier, we can see that there is a fog of war there capable of destroying the world, not in the distant future. Nations fear intelligent killer robot soldiers and invisible AI robots and there is a fierce backlash against the use of AI for destructive activities.
Technology and climate change
Technology is more destructive of the world contributing more to climate change than natural or artificially created ecological disasters. It is a hunger for more efficient and faster technologies that devours metals, minerals and guzzle fossil fuels and other natural resources which is the fountainhead of widespread destruction resulting in the specter of the disasters of climate change. A simplistic example of misuse of resources is while the whole of the West uses fossil fuel-generated energy to dry washed linen in dryers, the whole of India uses solar energy by hanging the wash out to dry on clotheslines. The reason for the West using fossil fuel here is that clotheslines are an eyesore. And then we strive to find other ways to harness solar energy.
A recent study has revealed that top billionaires who use private jets and helicopters for travel and champion the cause of change are the top contributors to carbon emissions with their use of high technological conveniences including travel in private aircraft. Why do we need faster and faster supersonic jets, increasing the carbon footprint multiple times, to cut down on travel time of an insignificant few by a few hours?
The class system the AI can create is all too evident in a 2022 Oxfam report, in which one study cited by Oxfam drew on public records to estimate emissions from the private planes, yachts, helicopters, and mansions of some of these billionaires contributed multiple times to carbon footprint than some developing nations.
Any serious conversation about AI also needs to take into consideration the role of deep fake using AI to wreak havoc among society and even intruding into private spaces for monetary and other gains. In the digital world bank robberies are conducted by those wearing AI masks and looted wares are sold in the flea markets of the dark web. Governments and civic amenities are also in danger of digital attacks using AI. Though governance plays a big role through legislation, the ultimate onus to save oneself from deep fakes will be of the individual. Spreading awareness of this menace is the key.
Realizing the dangers, governments and institutions around the world have started discussions to regulate the use of AI, the next dangerous threat to the world after terrorism.
(The author is an Indian Army veteran. Views are personal. He can be reached at email@example.com)