The Big Questions

How AI could change humanity as we know it

With all the developments taking place in AI and other technologies, the question of where humans fit in all of this remains somewhat of a mystery. Will improvements in technology eliminate the need for humans? If so, to what extent and in which areas in particular? Moreover, what economic, legal and societal impacts could arise as a result? Are such impacts even likely to happen?

Advancements in AI and other related technologies, whether it causes the efforts of humans to become void or not, is likely to have significant impacts on a number of key areas. To start with, the issue of employment is even now a very hot topic with regard to AI, with improvements in technology threatening jobs in numerous professions and industries, even traditionally prestigious areas such as law and medicine. Other areas like cybersecurity and warfare are also likely to experience drastic changes brought upon by improvement in AI.

Also, in addition to the economical impacts, the societal impacts are also likely to arise. Improvements in technology have encouraged a greater reliance on computers and Big Data. There are already plenty of examples of this; Amazon’s suggested product list personalised for online users is based on data from shopping history on the site. Google’s auto-reply feature in its Gmail application is also a technology based on the use of AI. These continuing improvements in AI, machine learning and Big Data may encourage a culture of ‘datatism,’ in which humanity becomes increasingly integrated with and reliant upon technology in a way that could diminish our internal authority as it is replaced by the wisdom of machines processing masses of data.

Additionally, the legal implications of improvements in AI will be significant. Who will become liable in an accident involving self-driving cars? Who is held accountable when an AI enabled machine deploys a cyber attack against another country? If robots and AI entities are to be held liable, do they deserve certain rights and liberties too? The rise of AI begs interesting questions, many of which do not have any clear answers yet.

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