By Clair Kang
Has Siri ever mistakenly responded to you? Has a guidance robot ever snuck up to you at the airport? Does the humanness of today’s technology sometimes startle you? Well, it is the advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that makes all this possible. AI has taken the capabilities of technology to all-new levels, and it is bringing about a greater dependence on these advancements. The things AIs are able to do are continuously improving, where they are being used in numerous workplaces, companies, technology, and schools. Many aspects of human life are gradually being correlated to AIs and becoming counter-dependent. However, this connection may not always pave the way for the better.
In the past, many expressed their concerns about the automation of jobs, doubting machines’ ability to replicate the work of humans. Meaning, unless it is the same repetitive, mechanical work, technology is not able to put in the same thoughts and strength as humans. They believed that humans, because they can think and feel, will produce the best work. Many believed that having AIs as the primary source of the workforce would be unethical and unfair for other workers. But today, with the numerous success stories of AI, its ability to produce work beyond the efficiency and capabilities of humans has been accepted by the global community. This includes the AIs in our computers or phones, along with robots and cars. However, despite this approved capacity, the development of AI has prompted conflicting conversations on whether the benefits of replacing human jobs would outweigh the apparent disadvantages to society.
When AI takes over mundane or risky duties, the demand for human labor decreases. This would pose a significant threat to workers, unable to return to their workplaces and continue to make a living. Unlike humans, technology does not get tired. This results in more efficiency and faster working speed. Especially for tasks that require repetition and continuous building, using technology that does not stop working, take breaks, or get tired, this naturally makes AIs a better source of productivity.
Also, AI technology is expensive. Even if companies wish to implement such systems for efficient manufacturing and job completion, the exorbitant price of AI is often a significant obstacle for many small companies. This would place larger companies at a considerable advantage, which could further escalate the economic inequalities between smaller and larger companies. Taking the digital industry as an example, small businesses that cannot afford AI are no match for behemoths like Google, Amazon, IBM, and Apple with access to such efficient technology. For example, Apple Inc. uses AIs in facial recognition, sleep tracking on Apple watches, translation, and sound/voice recognition. These are all elements that have improved the use of Apple technologies and efficiently changed how people use their devices. Evidently, AI is a significant contributor to this disparity between small and large companies as well as the exacerbating inequality among many industries.
It is clearly seen that Artificial Intelligence is advancing and will continue to further advance. With its great contributions to modern society, there is no doubt that AI has become an indispensable part of our lives. However, with the aforementioned concerns around the practical implementation of AI into the workplace, it is vital for us to heed the destructive potential of AI in the future. There needs to be a healthy balance of human presence and AIs in society to utilize the strengths of AIs while preventing putting humans at a disadvantage.