Throughout time, progress and advancement have been the hallmark of humanity. Invention has been driven by the necessity to make human life easier and more efficient. Since the creation of the wheel, humanity has actively engaged in transformative endeavors that have seen life become easier and human activity increase in productivity and output. Fear of the unknown is a characteristic of humanity, and often people avoid what scares them. However, every step taken across time to the present age has involved creating a revolutionary type of technology that has completely changed how we understand the world and how we interact with each other.
From the ingenuity of Mesopotamians to the brilliant mind of John McCarthy, technology has always sought to improve the life of people. Just as the wheel changed human life years ago, artificial intelligence can propel humanity to the next frontier. Humanity has survived for so long on this planet through willpower and strength and as a result of a rich pool of intelligent minds and inspired decision-making that has taken us from one point to another. Artificial intelligence is the future of technology because it combines all the elements that make humanity great and performs them faster, better, and more accurately (Muller and Bostrom, 2016).
The sheer potential of artificial intelligence is bound to turn people’s heads, who may be doubtful of whether humanity is capable of handling such power. After all, we have witnessed catastrophes in the hands of other game-changing technologies such as nuclear power and nuclear energy. The nuclear disaster in Chernobyl was an indicator that, in the wrong hands, technology could be a deadly thing. These reservations raise whether we know enough about artificial intelligence to make any meaningful laws that regulate its existence and use. While artificial intelligence is still relatively new, and we cannot be completely certain of its impact on our social life, we have seen the effects of similar technology in the past and its impact. Because there are experts who can guide us in creating regulation laws, we cannot restrict the potential of artificial intelligence out of uncertainty, and we have a structure of regulation that already exists.
Artificial intelligence refers to the simulation of human intelligence by computer systems and machines (Dick, 2019). The underlying foundation of artificial intelligence is computer algorithms. Specialized hardware and software interact through special computer algorithms that are coded to analyze huge chunks of data and make complex mathematical predictions that will take the human brain years to compute. According to Amit (2018), artificial intelligence coding primarily focuses on three aspects of cognitive function: Learning, reasoning, and self-correction. The learning aspects of artificial intelligence involve the intake of information and figuring out how to make sense of it. The reasoning aspect of artificial intelligence focuses on choosing the right set of algorithms to manipulate the data. The self-correcting element of artificial intelligence focuses on improving the algorithm to ensure that great results are provided.
The underlying idea for artificial intelligence has been in existence for over 100 years. In its most raw form, pop culture manifested the concept of artificial intelligence through “robots” who could think and act like humans. A generation of scientists and mathematicians later refined the general idea of machine intelligence. Alan Turing, for instance, was a brilliant mathematician who reasoned that machines could be capable of learning and using available information to make decisions just as humans do (Turing, 2009). However, John McCarthy is credited as the father of artificial intelligence. In 1955 he created a proposal whose objective was to look for ways in which machines could be capable of thought, self-correction, and problem-solving (Andresen, 2002).
According to Stone et al. (2016), there are four main types of artificial intelligence; reactive, limited memory, theory of mind, and self-aware artificial intelligence. The reactive machines are the most basic types of artificial intelligence. They are programmed to mimic human reactions to stimuli. They cannot learn since they do not use prior experience to navigate current problems. Limited memory machines are an improvement on reactive machines. They can react to conditions and can also use previous experience to inform present decisions. It is the most commonly used form of artificial intelligence today. The theory of mind artificial intelligence is currently a concept pursued by computer scientists and engineers. Machines will be able to discern human elements such as emotions and needs for better interaction. Self-aware artificial intelligence is a long way from being developed. If actualized, machines will be so similar to human beings that they will gain self-awareness.
Artificial intelligence is one of humanity’s most ingenious creations. What makes artificial intelligence more fascinating is that the technology is still in its infancy, and its potential to benefit society is still largely speculative. As the world gets more developed by the day, there is a demand for better decision-making and accuracy in the daily economic activities that fuel economic progress. As a result, the importance of artificial intelligence cannot be understated. Artificial intelligence will help improve decision-making, accuracy, and precision by eliminating human error (Ng, 2016).
Artificial intelligence will be crucial to most functions and tools that we use in our day-to-day routines. Artificial intelligence will be very important in the transportation industry, where computer programs will operate automated vehicles and other mediums of transport. Artificial intelligence will greatly reduce accidents and catastrophes as human error is eliminated. Automating most manufacturing jobs and integrating artificial intelligence in the factories will ensure that machines and human things work side-by-side to ensure maximum efficiency and the highest quality of the goods and products being produced. Artificial intelligence will also be directly beneficial to human beings in the form of healthcare. Healthcare is a very important aspect of every country in the world. Artificial intelligence will guarantee a quick and accurate diagnosis of ailments. Scientific research into drugs and medication will speed up anger synthesis, enabling a more personal touch to today’s healthcare services. Artificial intelligence will also directly affect humanity through customer service for mundane tasks such as bookings and appointments. Other sectors, such as education and journalism, will also utilize artificial intelligence to tailor the best educational experiences to each individual. At the same time, the synthesis of data reports will allow news outlets to make sense of raw information quickly.
According to Makridakis (2017), artificial intelligence is bound to alter society fundamentally. Improving the efficiency of work and creating ease of conducting different activities, technology often changes the dynamic of society. Artificial intelligence influences and will continue to influence people’s beliefs and decision-making by using algorithms that are tailor-made to target individuals based on their likes and preferences that they share on social media. Targeted ads and campaigns will affect the political landscape soon. Artificial intelligence will also improve human interaction across the globe while simultaneously creating a relationship between man and machine. Just as smartphones began a stronger connection between people and the internet, innovations in artificial intelligence will see more people interact with machines such as drones, toys, and virtual home assistants.
Artificial intelligence is hailed for its speed, accuracy, and efficiency. It is an improvement on almost all facets of human accomplishments. One of those accomplishments is the invention of the internet. The internet has been a source of great innovation, personal and commercial advancement. However, the dark side of the internet still lingers today as privacy becomes more of a concern in the digital age. Cyber attacks and cyber terrorism are becoming more and more rampant as data becomes a precious commodity. Artificial intelligence will integrate with the internet and, in the wrong hands, will put the personal data of millions of people around the world at risk of malicious intent by cybercriminals.
History shows us that war is the driver of human advancement. From fighting using spears and arrows, firearms and explosives, tankers and fighter jets to nuclear weapons, human ingenuity and invention have almost always been at their peak during warfare. It is not a far-fetched idea to visualize the next frontier of modern warfare through digital computing structures and artificial intelligence. According to Marr (2018), artificial intelligence also poses significant safety and security risks to the establishment. Rather than launch explosives at the enemy, nations will target other nations’ infrastructure, such as their power grid, through rogue computer malware channeled through artificial intelligence programs. This type of warfare is called hyper war (Husain et al., 2018).
Additionally, as artificial intelligence programs continue to learn and self-improve, they may become intellectually superior to humans. The potential benefits of artificial intelligence to humanity are endless, as are the potential risks. The efficiency and accuracy guaranteed by artificial intelligence mean that many of the services that humans rely on will be fully automated in the future. The safety of billions of people is at risk if these essential artificial intelligence programs that we will depend on fail or are misused. In the wrong hands, entities could use artificial intelligence programs to eradicate entire populations, while system failure could leave millions without healthcare, clean water, food reserves, etc.
According to Hagerty and Rubinov (2019), wealth inequality is also the potential risk of the widespread use of artificial intelligence in daily activities. Given their superior working capacity, official intelligence programs are bound to replace human labor at almost all levels of economic input. As a result, billions of people could be left without jobs and sources of income while the elite, comprised of executives and owners of companies and corporations that utilize these artificial intelligence programs, increase their revenue and net worth.
Regulation of artificial intelligence involves the formulation and creation of policies about the public sector and national legislation aimed at governing the creation and utilization of artificial intelligence programs (Reed, 2018). Regulation of artificial intelligence is a relatively new concept in legislation and regulation as it is still a relatively new technology whose scope and impact are yet to be fully assessed. In the last decade, the regulation of artificial intelligence has been gaining more emphasis due to the potential social effects of the technology. As is the case with all technologies, the regulation of artificial intelligence is a step towards addressing and mitigating the potential risk associated with artificial intelligence technology and its application.
Governments and channel administrations mainly focus on the regulation of artificial intelligence concerning the economic applications of the technology and how it would affect the public sector and the general public. In First World countries, the regulation of artificial intelligence also concerns itself with checks and balances to the creation of extremely advanced forms of artificial intelligence. Each policy and law regulating artificial intelligence is focused on the potential risks of technology itself and the application of the technology in the wrong hands. Regulation of artificial intelligence should start with ensuring that people’s civil liberties are not affected by the application of artificial intelligence technology. People’s privacy, safety, and independence are vital areas of concern. The regulation also seeks to ensure accountability, transparency, and fairness in using artificial intelligence.
Regulation of artificial intelligence technology is faced with the dilemma of the best approach to regulating this vastly untapped area of knowledge. Regulations are mostly informed by years of data on the applications and the impacts of specific technologies. However, given that artificial intelligence is a relatively new concept, public sector administrators and legislators have to find a middle ground between restricting the applications and innovation in artificial intelligence and having little to no checks and balances to the applications and innovation in the technology. Other issues include religious considerations in areas where religion is an important aspect of people’s nationality and identity and how artificial intelligence fits into their lives.
Developed countries and major trading blocs such as the European Union emphasized the regulation of artificial intelligence because of the potential contribution the technology will have in future trades and collaboration activities. The EU recently included artificial intelligence regulation in the European Union-United States Trade and Technology Council (Engler, 2022).
Amid emerging trends in artificial intelligence, the discussion of whether or not governments should regulate it is top of the list. Artificial intelligence can completely transform human life and should be handled by the most delicate and sober minds. Do people know enough about artificial intelligence to warrant more concrete regulations? As mentioned earlier, what humanity knows about artificial intelligence barely scratches the surface of its ultimate potential. It does not matter whether or not we fully comprehend artificial intelligence’s full benefits and risks. But, using history as an indicator, all new forms of technology need to be regulated as a precaution to provide a safe bubble that can be applied and studied.
According to Buiten (2019), regulation of artificial intelligence applications is necessary because a significant portion of it will be utilized by national governments and big companies that influence the lives of human beings. Technological tools and programs that can affect billions of people should not be entrusted to a few people without adequate measures to regulate and monitor how they are used. Without regulation, the application of artificial intelligence programs to the general population could be catastrophic if errors and biased computations are integrated into the Artificial Intelligence programs. Companies are profit-oriented and would therefore forego investment in safety measures if regulation does not exist.
We live in a world of order where human rights should be respected and recorded as the most priority. There should be measures to ensure that governments and companies that violate human rights while utilizing artificial intelligence programs for one agenda or another face the consequences of their actions. Regulation of artificial intelligence and its related application is also necessary to provide accountability if these programs are used in a manner that negatively affects human life (Khisamova, 2019). These regulations ensure that governments and corporations properly utilize artificial intelligence. Still, the general public’s confidence regarding their safety is maintained, and they allow artificial intelligence to make their lives easier.
According to Fink (2021), artificial intelligence regulation should ensure that the fundamental rights of human beings are of the utmost priority. First and foremost, they should restrict or reject a form of artificial intelligence that puts human lives in danger; that’s the fundamental aspect of their liberty, such as the right to privacy. Artificial intelligence regulations also have to encourage transparency of the technology that enforcers will use privately or commercially and how it will ensure that the safety and security of the general public are guaranteed as well as their rights to privacy and fairness. These regulations should be overseen by an independent task force or agency which has autonomy of operation to keep it free from tampering and corruption. In case of a breach of these regulations, there need to be swift and unwavering consequences faced by the perpetrators, which do not allow for loopholes that they can use to escape justice.
On the other hand, there are arguments against the regulation of artificial intelligence. Regulations may put a limit on the true potential of artificial intelligence capabilities. Public sector policies and national legislation may prove to be too restrictive and impede any meaningful progress that programmers could make in advancing artificial intelligence technology. Helen Keller once said that “avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” Regulation of artificial intelligence is primarily based on the fear of misuse and accidents whose impact would be catastrophic to the human population. Restricting the advancement of technology due to a fear of what might happen is a sure way of ensuring that humanity never progress is from where we are. For technology to advance, brilliant minds have to collaborate and learn from each other to take technology from one point to another. Regulation of artificial intelligence will dissuade mathematicians, scientists, engineers, and other experts from pursuing research that would enable them to advance the technology beyond basic home use. As a result, artificial intelligence’s potential will never be actualized.
In conclusion, artificial intelligence is the ability of machines to learn and implement human functions based on a series of computations that integrate specialized hardware and software mimicking human intelligence. Artificial intelligence can be extremely beneficial to the human race in terms of quicker decision-making and accuracy in performing different activities. It also can be extremely damaging in the wrong hands as a result of misuse and accidents and may undermine human rights, values, and life on a grand scale. Current regulation on artificial intelligence is based on little information on the application of the technology. Few policies directly monitor and regulate the usage of artificial intelligence—the major issues concerning artificial intelligence or whether or not governments should regulate it. There is a very real basis for regulation, such as protecting human life and values from manipulation by artificial intelligence. There is also concern that regulation restricts and limits advancements in technology supporting artificial intelligence.
Based on information on artificial intelligence, its application, the potential benefits, and the potential risks involved, I would argue that we do not know enough about artificial intelligence to warrant the creation of policies and laws regulating its progress and application. Artificial intelligence’s potential to improve human life forever outweighs the risks that widespread use of improved artificial intelligence poses to the general population. In many popular culture references, such as films like Avengers Age of Ultron, I Robot, Tron Legacy, etc., artificial intelligence is portrayed as the next frontier of human advancement (Geraci, 2010). While they also depict the challenges that artificial intelligence may bring, there is a consensus that it is something worth pursuing. If potential risks arise, people will deal with them in light of new information.
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