The UN warns of the arrival of autonomous weapons, facial recognition produces errors that go beyond a joke, and large-scale data fraud is on the table
Rafa Mingorance describes on his YouTube channel Technology and lifestyles , the five disadvantages of AI that should worry us.
Text by Rafa Mingorance:
Artificial intelligence is increasingly present in our lives and will surpass human intelligence within 5 to 10 years .
Much is said about the great advantages that it brings to the development of modern societies, but it would be worth reflecting on the possible disadvantages that its use can entail for people.
In the near future, autonomous weapons could decide who lives and who dies . And this would be a serious problem because machines lack human characteristics such as compassion when it comes to making complex ethical decisions. The UN has already warned, on several occasions, of the danger that countries like the United States, Russia and China pose to develop weapons capable of functioning without soldiers to supervise them. What guarantees that these intelligent weapons cannot make mistakes that cost thousands of innocent lives? According to experts, nothing at all. In fact, they warn that the risk of large-scale accidents is very great. If we add to this that an autonomous weapon is incapable of distinguishing whether a soldier is attacking, surrendering or wounded , the future paints a complicated war horizon.
Fraudulent use of personal data
There is growing concern about the data that people give up when we agree to use an application on a mobile phone. We have all read the news about how Facebook and other social networks traffic our data to make large sums of money . And they do it by using smart tools. They are a bit scary because they can predict what we will do in the future based on what we did in the past.
But there’s something else: it’s not just about predicting what people will do, but also about predicting what they won’t do . For example, let’s say you have a company that sells shoes. You could use an algorithm that tells you which colors to store and which colors to not store based on historical data. If you already know that your customers are not going to buy red shoes from you, it makes no sense for you to have red shoes in your catalogue, even if your competitor does. Algorithms are living beings that evolve thanks to their ability to learn from experience. Over time, they develop into highly sophisticated artificial intelligences that can be used for criminal purposes. For this reason, it is essential that there are control tools, as is the case in Estonia, where citizens have access to information about when and how their data is used.
Facial recognition errors
This point generates debate and contradictory situations. And here I would like to explain how it is approaching in Europe. In a recent draft regulation, the EU Commission classified facial recognition as a high-risk technology that could affect the freedom and privacy of citizens . Companies that want to use facial recognition will need to get approval from regulatory bodies before starting work. They will also have to establish codes of conduct for their employees. So far so good. But, at the same time that the European Commission cares about the rights of its citizens, it wants to create a big database of all non-Europeans, using facial scanning . This information will be contrasted, in real time, with the lists of dangerous people wanted by the police. But can artificial intelligence avoid making mistakes with innocent people? And, on the other hand, to what extent will artificial intelligence be capable of avoiding deception, with make-up and disguise techniques, by criminals?
Growing presence of artificial intelligence in the job market
Artificial intelligence is no longer limited to executing repetitive jobs. He also begins to do creative tasks such as photographs or texts. One such example is Dall-E 2 , an artificial intelligence program that can draw portraits of people or landscape scenes . Seeing how it works, we wonder if this AI will put thousands of illustrators out of work or, on the contrary, will become a great ally. But its presence is not only limited to filling jobs, artificial intelligence also decides if you are suitable for a job or not. They are the so-called predictive hiring programs that apply automatic selection criteria and are not always correct. This type of algorithms also applies biases such as gender, age or race because they are trained to work with patterns of success that are repeated over time . If, in the past, those selected for a job were 25-year-old white men with an MBA from Harvard University, an algorithm will repeat that pattern when choosing new employees and perhaps those people will not always be the most suitable for the position in question. This bias issue links to the next point.
Judges in the hands of Artificial Intelligence
In the past, judges relied on knowledge of the law and personal reasoning to decide who should go to jail. But now, some judges use artificial intelligence (AI) to make these decisions. The software is called Compas and it is a system that analyzes the criminal history of the defendants . It tells them how likely it is that a person will commit another crime after being released from jail. Some experts warn that this can lead to discrimination, since African-Americans are more likely than whites to be arrested for certain crimes, such as drug possession. So far, AI has proven to be especially effective at menial tasks like booking a hotel room or applying for credit. However, humans will later find that artificial intelligence will be present in many other tasks considered creative to automate them. We are protagonists of a paradigm shift comparable to the invention of the wheel or the printing press without knowing where it is leading us . That is why it is necessary to reflect on what role we want artificial intelligence to play in our future.