Rarely has a new technology elicited as strong a response as artificial intelligence (AI). Depending on who you ask, AI will either save the world or usher in the end of humanity.
While it’s important to understand AI’s risks and safeguard against them, there is too little conversation about the upside of AI. If the technology is this powerful, how could it improve our lives for the better? What problems could AI solve beyond creating more efficiency? In other words, how might AI be worth the risk?
Carsten Wierwille, CEO of digital product studio ustwo, believes that we need a positive vision for AI that considers both its upside and downside. By doing so, we can tap into its power to affect lasting positive change. Not only can AI streamline routine tasks, but it can also make human beings more productive, creative, and connected. By looking to its potential and creating safety guardrails through regulations, AI has the potential to make societies healthier, fairer, and more equitable. The economic and societal gains could be enormous, with applications in education, healthcare, and social justice.
In the realm of education, AI could revolutionize language learning. Traditional methods often lack the spontaneity and individualization necessary for effective learning. Language learning apps also fall short in providing an authentic conversational experience. AI-powered language tools could change that. Imagine a simulation game where learners explore a foreign city, speaking and interacting with locals in a personalized and adaptive environment tailored to their level and objectives. AI could make the act of learning another language more effective and enjoyable, opening doors to social mobility, career advancement, and participating in the global economy.
Healthcare is another area where AI holds great promise. Its ability to process and understand medical data at an unprecedented speed and accuracy opens doors to groundbreaking advancements. One notable example is Deep Mind’s AlphaFold program, which predicts protein structures with remarkable precision. Another breakthrough comes from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, who developed an implantable AI-powered device to restore speech in paralyzed patients. These examples demonstrate AI’s potential to usher in a new era of medical discoveries and improve conditions that were previously deemed out of reach.
However, it is crucial to address the biases present in AI systems, such as those found in large language models and facial recognition software. Automated decision-making tools used in criminal justice systems raise concerns about transparency and implicit bias. The lack of regulation in these areas is worrisome. However, AI can work in the opposite direction, uncovering and counterbalancing biases. Companies like Google and the Allen Institute for AI have developed tools to identify, explain, and address bias in machine learning models. These technologies can be used to create explicit interventions that enhance social justice and equity. For instance, AI models could be used to increase loan applications for underrepresented groups by a certain percentage, promoting financial inclusion.
By focusing on the potential downside of AI, we risk inhibiting its ability to deliver the positive changes we desire. A positive vision for AI is necessary to unlock its true potential. We must move beyond simply taming and regulating the destructive aspects of AI and actively pursue its most meaningful and fair applications instead. Without this vision, AI risks being relegated to an undead state, depriving us of the real benefits it can provide. It is time to shape the AI that we want while mitigating against the risks that we fear.
In conclusion, AI has the ability to transform our lives for the better. Its potential goes far beyond efficiency gains. By embracing a positive vision for AI, we can leverage its power for economic and societal advancements in areas such as language learning, healthcare, and social justice. It is crucial to address biases and implement regulations to ensure fairness and transparency in AI systems. Only then can we truly tap into AI’s ability to affect lasting positive change in our world.