AI Myths That We Should Finally Put to Bed in 2018
Many of the public’s perceptions of artificial intelligence have been shaped by depictions of AI in pop culture artifacts like The Terminator, The Matrix, or more recently, Westworld. If you’ve seen any of these shows and movies, you know that the perception they foster is less than positive.
There’s a lot of misinformation and uncertainty swirling around AI. Now is the time to finally put some of the unfounded myths about this important technology to rest.
But while there’s a lot about AI and its future role in human society that we simply cannot predict, we’re getting a deeper, more nuanced understanding of AI technology with each passing year. At this point, we can confidently bust a few AI myths that, while captivating to the imagination, simply aren’t viable.
Myth #1: AI represents an existential threat to humanity
Right off the bat, it’s important to temper AI skeptics’ concerns about “smart” robots attempting to enslave the human race. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been a vocal opponent of unchecked AI development, warning, “I have exposure to the most cutting-edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned by it. AI is a rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation rather than be reactive.”
But pushing back against the likes of Musk is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “Whenever I hear people saying AI is going to hurt people in the future, I think yeah, you know, technology can generally always be used for good and bad, and you need to be careful about how you build it,” Zuckerberg mused during a Facebook Live stream in July. “But people who are arguing for slowing down the process of building AI,” he continued, “I just find that really questionable. I have a hard time wrapping my head around that.”
Current AI technology is nowhere close to representing an existential threat to humanity. If anything, turning our backs on AI or refusing to work collaboratively with one another to develop and implement common sense regulations on AI development will only increase the chances of this kind of worst case scenario occurring. For the foreseeable future, though, we have no reason to worry about a species-endangering robot uprising.
Myth #2: AI will eventually surpass us in every respect
It’s highly unlikely that even fully mature AI systems will surpass humans at everything that we do. “Intelligence” as it’s discussed in the AI community isn’t a homogenous, straightforward characteristic: there are many strains to intelligence, as well as many different aspects that can be combined in countless different ways in order to create a “smart” machine.
AI systems already far exceed humankind’s abilities when it comes to things like rapid and voluminous calculation and capacity for recall (or “memory”), but even the AI of the future will struggle to match humankind’s creative flair and capacity for “big picture” strategic thinking. Specialized AI has already proven tremendously effective in fields like healthcare, education, and marketing, but at this point, no one is going to mistake an AI system for a well-rounded human being.
Myth #3: Widespread AI adoption will lead to mass unemployment
The public’s primary concern with AI today is widespread job loss. According to one Pew poll, 65% of American adults believe that robots and/or computers will either “definitely” or “probably” do much of the work currently done by humans within a handful of decades.
And while this solid majority may not be entirely wrong, we must be careful not to confuse individual tasks with actual jobs. According to MGI, 60% of all jobs could feasibly have 30% of their current tasks handled by a machine by 2055, but only 5% of all jobs are likely to be fully automated by this juncture. Make no mistake: as AI matures, human workers will have to adapt to shifting expectations in their workplaces and maybe even learn some new skills. But there is very little evidence to support the thesis that AI is going to lead to mass unemployment in every sector.
Along these lines, Bernard Marr, author of “Data Strategy: How to Profit from a World of Big Data, Analytics and the Internet of Things,” recently observed, “Employers are generally looking at AI technology as a method of augmenting human workforces, and enabling them to work in newer and smarter ways.”
AI in Marketing Provides an Important Roadmap for the Future
At Albert™, we view artificial intelligence in a very similar way. Our platform, the world’s first fully-autonomous AI marketing tool, has redefined digital marketing, but it is our strong belief that human marketers and Albert are destined to be partners, not competitors.
Our platform’s AI capabilities enable marketers to stop spending time on mundane data analysis and campaign optimization tasks and focus their efforts on the truly human aspects of marketing — creative vision, ad design, and big picture strategy. This “redefinition without replacement” approach to integrating AI into the modern workplace is a powerful example of how humanity as a whole can and should embrace AI in spite of the many myths it inspires.
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