Why we fear AI – and why we shouldn’t

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It’s Halloween season, so we decided to indulge in something a touch spookier than usual: today we discuss the most common fears of AI – and the reasons why you shouldn’t be scared! We often hear people saying that they are scared of it. But, what is the danger of AI, and why does it not seem like a good thing?

AI is more and more prevalent in our lives, and in a few years, humans may be replaced by robots. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already impacting our daily lives and has the potential to improve them.

There are many fears that people have about AI. Some think that AI will take over the world, others are afraid of robots, and more. Let’s debunk five of the most common fears people have about artificial intelligence!

Why do people fear AI?

Let’s start from the beginning – why are people afraid of artificial intelligence?

According to some public figures like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, it’s only a matter of time before AI takes over. The advancements in AI are currently moving faster than ever before, and the day is coming sooner than we think. As AI begins to take on more and more roles in our lives, there will be a significant need for a way to control it. Artificial intelligence will no longer require us, humans, to be involved at all by a certain point. Study Says 64% of People Trust a Robot More Than Their Manager.

Let’s say that the way media portrayed artificial intelligence wasn’t always flattering. AI has often been a plot device in thriller and sci-fi movies that turned out to be strange, in the best case, and a massive killer in the worst.

Back in the 80s, and even before, people started fearing AI because they were afraid it could have killed us all.

In the last few decades, another fear has become more powerful: the upcoming and growing automation would have killed millions of job places. With these premises, we can understand why people may feel intimidated when it comes to artificial intelligence. However, we are here to dismiss your fears about it, and the first thing to know is how people that fear AI see it.

Why is this happening?

Andrew Keith Walker defines it pretty clearly in its Medium article. “This is probably because we’ve grown up with a mild case of collective paranoia, spawned mostly by movies and sci-fi novels.”

If we fear something, it may happen because we don’t know it enough – or at all -, or because there was a misunderstanding. In the case of AI, it is undoubtedly true!

What AI is VS what people believe AI is

From this introduction, we can easily understand some differences between what AI is and what people think AI is.

People fear AI because of scary storytelling and sci-fi movies. Still, the reality is way different than any “Terminator” movie.

People are scared by AI. Sometimes they believe it is a super-technology with a conscience on its own that will take over and will rule on your lives.

The reality, is way different.

Artificial intelligence is – and we know it doesn’t sound as fancy as expected – just a series of algorithms.

They can’t develop a conscience (yet?) because we only are at the first step in its development. Currently, artificial intelligence can only execute programmed tasks. For instance, if an algorithm manages movement in a robotic arm, it won’t be responsible for the speaking feature.

That said, do you feel less scared than before? We hope so because we will dig in and find out five reasons why we shouldn’t fear artificial intelligence.

Five common reasons people fear AI (and why they shouldn’t fear)

In this paragraph, we will discuss five common fears people have about artificial intelligence and explain why they are not something you should worry about.

Tell us which one scared you the most!

AI is going to kill us.

Reality: AI can’t do what you have seen in movies.

Let’s begin with the most common, yet most unlikely, fear: that artificial intelligence could take over and kill us all by creating a world of dominance and slavery.

Well, it’s not going to happen.

Artificial intelligence can’t do what we have seen in movies.

Why? Because of its nature.

As we were saying, artificial intelligence is a list of instructions. It can learn by itself and develop more precision. Still, if its job is to count how many people confirmed a reservation in your hotel, it will not start to fire the toasters in the kitchen. AI is not developed enough to do other things than just what we teach it to do. 

We, too, love movies like “I, Robot,” “Matrix” and “Terminator,” they are great fun. But they are only this – movies.

AI will steal our jobs.

Reality: it will make our life easier

Everything depends on the perspective from which we look.

Yes, artificial intelligence is probably going to take part in people’s jobs. The real question, though, is – which part?

As we were saying, AI is not intelligent in the sense that we usually mean. It can perform its task wonderfully, but nothing more. However, it is excellent because it allows us to get rid of the most annoying and repetitive tasks, like answering FAQs. Isn’t it great?

Suppose AI can manage all the simplest things. In that case, employees can dedicate themselves to more complex and challenging tasks, feel more satisfied, and improve their careers and environments.

According to World Economic Forum, by 2025, AI will positively impact jobs and career paths worldwide.

World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum

Moreover, while artificial intelligence will automate some jobs, it will also create new ones. The world of copywriting is an example. AI writers are revolutionizing the way this industry operates, which has led to a decrease in demand for human writers. It doesn’t mean that human copywriters are out of a job, though! There is still plenty of work to do with AI writers handling formatting and producing content autonomously.

If influential people use AI, it’ll be war.

Reality: AI is just another tool

How many times did you feel scared at the idea that if AI gets into the wrong hands, it could be a disaster?

We can assure you. You have nothing to fear.

Every technology brings with it fears like this. Computers didn’t take over. AI won’t, either. We are scared of what we don’t know, but we only need to pay attention and listen. Given its nature and limits, AI is not a super weapon but a tool that different people will use in different ways.

We don’t know what AI thinks and does

Reality: Well, we do.

Why? Because artificial intelligence doesn’t think by itself. This myth is another child of the fear of AI that maliciously rules the world.

One of the main fears about artificial intelligence is being unaware of what it thinks. What if it’s planning to conquer the world while being friendly and valuable, like in I, Robot?

Again, we don’t have to fear this because it’s impossible. We know precisely what AI thinks because… well, we design it, as humans.

Moreover, again, we are talking about a technology that can only follow orders. It’s a bit unlikely to develop a dictator’s personality if technology can only extract data from texts, right?

AI will make mistakes.

Reality: AI is as biased as its creators, but we can fix it.

Another problem is that human interactions with AI can never be 100% safe. There will always be mistakes and accidents that happen when you work with machines.

Machines are still machines. The dangers of human-AI interactions are only amplified because AI is becoming more advanced and integrated into our lives.

However, Governments are continuously discussing how to create a safe, ethical, and transparent AI future for society, to ensure that we can live in a world without fear. We always need to remember that if artificial intelligence makes mistakes, it is not its fault, but humans’ – particularly the ones that programmed it.

Conclusions

Did we scare you enough for this Halloween?

Jokes aside, we hope we have given you enough information and enough reasons not to fear AI but to see it as a part of our lives that can make them more accessible.

What were you afraid of? And, most importantly, what are you going to do on Halloween?

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