By Aishath Nashaya Imad, Marketing Intern, Lava Protocols

I’ll admit, I’m kind of scared of robots. Well actually, I’m petrified. But, who isn’t? Growing up, all we see in movies is the portrayed ascendancy of artificial intelligence (AI) and our inevitable conflict with it. The Matrix, Space Odyssey, The Terminator, and Star Wars are examples of this. They portray a darker side of artificial intelligence (AI) and how it can outsmart humans.

AI is essentially a machine invented by man with intellectual capabilities similar to, or in some cases, far more advanced than humans. It is very much like a computer which is able to think for itself. Cool huh?

In an interview with BBC, the late physicist Stephen Hawking shared that once humans fully develop AI, “it will take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate. He added, “Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.

In fact, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was quoted in an article by CNBC saying that AI may constitute a “fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization”.

We explore 3 ways AI is already doing this below:

 

1. Outsmarting Existing Systems

Believe it or not, AI can be programmed to fool less advanced systems.

Let’s take the example of the Captcha test. When logging onto a website, the system would require the user to “identify letters, digits, symbols or objects that have been distorted or animated in some way something which a robot would find difficult to do accurately. After all, machines don’t have the human ability to pick up visual cues.

Not until now. According to BBC, there are now artificially intelligent machines which can mimic the way a human brain identifies images. What this means is that fake accounts can be created by machines.

 

2. Political Manipulation

If you look at the world of politics, you can see that we are getting manipulated so easily, and it’s not always by humans. Believe it or not, AI can now be used to manipulate voters’ decisions.

Based on voters’ behavior on social media, their consumption patterns, and relationships with different individuals, AI can send different voters different messages. For instance, people who are paranoid about whether they are making the right choice by voting for candidate A would receive ads that instill fear in them. On the other hand, people who are conservative in their thinking would receive ads which center on tradition and community. Sometimes it’s fake, yet it can be extremely convincing.

AI can behave just like a human by liking, sharing, retweeting, commenting, and following you on social media, to bring your attention to particular viewpoints. This means it can be used to amplify negative messages on social media about candidate A to a demographic group more likely to vote for them. The idea here is to discourage them from voting for that candidate.

 

3. Deep Fakes

That’s not all that AI can do. There’s also something known as ‘Deep fakes”. Deep fakes are videos that showcase a person saying or doing something, which they never actually said or did in reality. It is basically a fake video created using AI. Such videos can be used in the political industry whereby the videos are manipulated to show political candidates saying things that could harm the other candidate’s/ their own chances in the election.

You may have seen the video of Barack Obama which was released in April 2018 and has garnered over 5.8 million views (at the time this article was written). It shows the former US president throwing offensive statements towards the current US president, Donald Trump.

Although many of you may argue that this video is unbelievably realistic, it’s a deep fake made by actor-director Jordan Peele who mimicked Obama’s voice. The whole purpose of creating the video was to create awareness about the existence (and dangers) of fake audio and video content out there.

This shows the extent to which AI can trick us. Never fall for a video or a photo without checking your facts with other credible sources first.

Every Coin Has Two Sides

AI is not all bad. It offers tremendous benefits to us humans as well.

To start off, it can screen incoming calls from telemarketers, operate our appliances, drive our cars for us, and recommend shows on Netflix that we may like.

AI also acts as a security blanket. It is now used in CCTV cameras at home to detect postures, angles, positions, and movements that are out of the ordinary. Its facial recognition capability can help simplify the jobs of policemen and security officers with regard to crime investigations.

In fact, it can filter through our emails for spam messages and craft our messages for us. If you’re a G Suite user, you would have noticed the auto-complete email feature, Smart Compose. In a blog post, Google wrote that it can even “insert personalized information like your office or home address, so you don’t need to spend time in repetitive tasks.”

AI is also used in businesses to identify patterns from data and extract relevant insights. Salesforce Einstein is an example of this. It is like a smart CRM assistant that can predict which sales leads and opportunities will convert, and resolve customer issues with minimal human supervision.

AI is also being used to alleviate traffic issues in big cities such as Maryland, US. Their “AI traffic system is projected to reduce commute time for 700,000 drivers by 15 percent” writes Dan London in the CIO.

I could go on and on about the marvel that is AI.

Recommended reading: All You Need To Know About Machine Learning

What Must We Do?

What’s crucial for us to note is the main distinction between AI and humans. AI does not possess our human conscience and therefore can’t differentiate between what’s right and wrong.

This is why humans play a central role in controlling the usage of AI. Our actions dictate whether AI is used for the betterment of mankind or the opposite.

One of the ways to accomplish this is through good regulation. A code of ethics alone is not good enough, writes Paul Chadwick, Reader’s Editor of The Guardian.

In a journal article entitled Constitutional democracy and technology in the age of artificial intelligence, Paul Nemitz, the Principal Adviser in the European Commission writes that “AI cannot and will not serve the public good without strong rules in place.”

Nemitz made a very good point by saying AI is “…largely developed and deployed under the control of the most powerful Internet technology corporations…And it is these powerful Internet technology corporations which have already demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to pursue public interest on a grand scale without the hard hand of the law…”

Akin to how religion or national constitutions create order and justice in our world, the right legislation will enable AI to help humans within predefined boundaries.

When given the opportunity, AI can do wonders for us – governments can speed up the process of attending to public comments, improve taxpayer experience, mitigate fraud, help the visually impaired, and even help refugees with their personal identity record.

Regulation and AI education are the two keys things we need. Once we have these in place, AI can work alongside us, rather than against us.

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Lava is a cloud service provider and an expert in all things cloud and IT related such as AI. We an authorised Salesforce Partner in Malaysia and possess more than a decade of experience in cloud solutions which includes marketing automation, CRM implementation, change management, and consultation. We pride ourselves in not just being a CRM partner but in also understanding the needs of our customers and taking their business to the next level.

Email us at asklava@lavaprotocols.com or call us at 03-7885 9720 if you have any questions.

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