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Artificial Intelligence: Should we be more afraid of AI taking our jobs or our own human identity?

29-08-2017, Lavina Harte





The technology landscape is constantly changing and in all honesty, when I look back on my 31 years I can say I'm grateful for having experienced life without the World Wide Web. For those born into a culture whose online addiction is fuelled by a need for instant information and gratification, there isn't much reprieve in sight. You see the abilities to learn for ourselves seem to be lost along with the season 3 winner of American Idol.

I’m not stating that we as a society aren’t benefiting from technology, but we as humans are losing our natural abilities to make decisions and learn for ourselves. I remember when I was a teenager I had to actively go to a library and talk to subject matter experts in order to get information for my assignments and pass.

If I were to ask a person born in the 21st Century to guide me around a brand new city using an old UBD roadmap, the response would be blank look and a scratch of the head. So while we've spent that past 2 decades building a tolerance towards using our own capabilities, we’ve formed dependency and addiction to Artificial Intelligence finding the answers for us. As much as we are told to buy the latest trending app because it’s cool, the underlying factor is new apps are released by companies to create more ways to collect user data.

Ask yourself this, how often are you spending time on your phone using these apps? I admit my phone is never far from my side and yes it does have the standard apps most 30-year-old use, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Uber and Tinder. By installing these applications, I have given permission for companies to record (you give that permission away in the T&C) my every action, ultimately leading to the creation of an AI version of my behavioural patterns.

Having started my Facebook account in 2006, which is 11 years ago it’s easy to say there would be a record of the café I visited in New York in 2007 down 7th and 14th St, Chelsea. There would also be a clear profile of my age, sex, location, relationship status, my interests, where I visit and what I like to eat. This is only the tip of the iceberg as below the waters there is so much more being recorded.

Recently Facebook announced a new feature, which acts like a personal assistant. It’s called “M”. The feature is designed to make real time suggestion based on the users online behaviour. So “M” notices that you have liked posts about Gelato and will then send you a private suggestion to visit a new Gelato store that has opened around the corner.The danger is that we are slowly loosing the control and power over what we can see. This technique is bypassing all traditional methods of marketing and B2B communication and putting this in the hands of Artificial Intelligence. Ultimately giving AI the power to influence us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no shut off period. We are constantly fed information and told to try the latest technology which make our lives easier, but ultimately is this our demise.

Facebook’s “M” bot is a reminder that our population is incredibly susceptible to the final frontier of Technological Singularity. With the current rate that we are giving away our daily ins and outs to social media companies, we may as well hand these last remaining human qualities: decision making skills: empathy, morals and common sense over to the Cyber world on a silver platter.

There has been such a great fear amongst the public regarding losing our jobs to AI, but as much as this is going to be inevitable should we be more focused on losing our overall human nature to Artificial Intelligence?

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