What is Artificial Intelligence? - Risks and Dangers of AI

  • By Steven
  • Published: Mar 01, 2024
  • Last Updated: May 01, 2024

What is Artificial Intelligence? 

Artificial intelligence (AI) permeates the world around us; much more than simplistic technology, AI describes the abilities that an automated system can influence. Simple AI can fulfill limited tasks that usually outperform their human counterparts, whereas complex AI can emulate human thought, make critical choices, and influence the broader operating system. 

Risks and Dangers of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The most common AI used today is straightforward—those that can fulfill a single task extremely well. Also called “Narrow AI,” tech that falls into this category includes filtering options for correspondence emails and a variety of other automated tasks. Even the vastly popular AI conversational chatbot ChatGPT falls within this category. 

Narrow AI is excellent at what it does—of course, it is!—but its limitations are well known. For example, despite being superior at producing words, a writer’s AI lacks the delicate influence of a human’s touch. Moreover, because the AI cannot create the context, it relies upon the broader Internet to “fill in” those aspects it doesn’t know. In such a manner, a writer’s AI cannot create full-fledged literature but can create a congealed blob of words, most of which derive from human writers. 

All of this is to say that AI is not going away any time soon; our society is integrating tech into our everyday lives, from the cars we (used to) drive to our potential interactions online. AI solves significant societal problems, including everything from healthcare to production and data analysis. However, the widely accepted tech does not mean it is necessarily safe. AI has clear risks regarding humanity’s privacy, equity, and security. There are dangers to AI—and until AI developers can combat these risks, the public may be better off keeping its distance. 

Problems AI is Solving

There are some problems that can be solved with artificial intelligence, here are some of them:

Healthcare Developments 

It’s indisputable that AI has allowed for significant advancements within healthcare. The right software can assist in detecting diseases, factoring in variables like the patient’s genetics, lifestyle, and environmental aspects. However, there is also a rising concern about medical fraud, as technological complexity could potentially be exploited. Even surgical events have become bathed in a robotic light; doctors on the opposite side of the globe can now perform minimally invasive procedures with robotic hands mirroring their actions in real-time. 

Evolving Communication Abilities 

AI can do more than schedule a text at a specific time; it can enable teams to interact simultaneously on a project, draft and produce professional correspondence within seconds, and offer service solutions without needing a live agent. Service chatbots are becoming ever-more frequent within customer service options. AI allows employees to focus elsewhere while the automaton answers questions and enhances overall consumer satisfaction. 

Regulatory Compliance and Maintenance 

Where once we relied upon trained humans to oversee compliance, industries are now turning to AI to adhere to regulatory policies. Specially created AI can navigate their organizations’ legal and private obligations by reducing non-compliance risks. Financial regulation balancing, correcting conflicting policies, and remedial suggestions are all within the power of these AI solutions. 

Data Collection and Analysis 

"AI is particularly efficient at collecting and analyzing data through robust data pipelines; global industries and organizations have unique AI to assist their needs. Marketing solutions can track the behaviors of their potential clients, increasing their overall ROI using the analyzed information. Financial organizations also enable data analytics, allowing officials to identify fraudulent activity within a user’s account. 

Production Efficiency and Productivity 

AI’s domain is repetitive tasks like data entry and inventory management; robots taking over tasks with traditionally high error rates frees human employees to focus on more efficient, innovating solutions to assist their organizations. AI overseeing production stats is also cheaper than human alternatives, especially when humans can reallocate resources for training and developing initiatives. 

Why Must We Identify the Dangers of Artificial Intelligence

There are several reasons why we should be aware of the dangers of artificial intelligence:

Mitigating AI Risks to Privacy 

AI technology is integrated into our world—mainly where medical and production systems rely on numbers and predictable statuses. These same systems often require access to personal information and network data to complete their tasks fully; as a result, safeguards must be put into place to protect the confidentiality of those data elements within the system. Without these safeguards, cybercriminals may expose the personal data of employees, clients, vendors, and patients throughout the AI’s task life. 

Restricting AI Risks to Society 

Although some advanced AI allows professionals to assist each other in determining favorable outcomes (like applicable healthcare treatments for a fixed income), AI can only produce these results based on their entered data. If that data is biased when it enters the AI system, it can push the AI to discriminatory outcomes. AI developers must “clean” the data they enter into the system—but if not done correctly, the AI could unintentionally perpetuate social biases.

Limiting AI Risks to Humanity’s Workforce Role 

The truth is that AI cannot do everything a person can (as demonstrated in the intro); AI is good at repetitive, error-inducing tasks but cannot problem-solve or think for itself. Even if it could, there would be limitations to its abilities because it would rely upon a thought structure, which would entrap its abilities. That said, some jobs and workers are at risk for displacement, and society must also be vigilant against job scams exploiting those seeking new opportunities. Society must respond to this diaspora by offering training for new or developing positions within the workforce. 

AI and Privacy to Promote Security 

AI poses risks to our cyber environments, not because they permeate it, but because they do not fend off cyberattacks. Cyber assaults are unpredictable, and creating an AI that can equally detect, defend, and respond to an attack in any given situation is impossible. Cyber security AI can defend a system against assailants. However, it cannot respond to the threat meaningfully, short of notifying experts of an attack. AI poses significant risks to cyber wars because a malicious actor could garner free access to a network without security.

What are the Dangers of AI

Here are some of the dangers of artificial intelligence

Dangers of AI for Kids 

The role of AI in the lives of children is ever-fluctuating. AI can assist children in learning concrete concepts in a gamified manner—encouraging playful study time and patience. However, the rise in gamified learning has also given rise to data loss through naivety and weakened the overall social ethics of the next generation.  In addition, some registration AI may use a child’s socioeconomic status as a way to engineer social grading, which may shove a child out of an otherwise excellent school zone. Developers can largely mitigate these risks, but parents and guardians play significant parts in avoiding these risks and ensuring internet safety for kids.

Dangers of AI for Students 

Older minors and young adults have different risks than those plaguing younger generations. As a student, young adults are more likely than ever to face social manipulationsocial media plays a large part in this danger, especially as fledgling adults explore the online world without supervision. As they explore the online world, they will likely run into additional dangers, like social surveillance. AI plays into manipulation and surveillance quickly, allowing marketers, recruiters, and tech overlords to have unyielding holds on these new adults. 

Then, when it comes time to go to college, these people still aren’t out of the danger zone—a college submission powered by AI sorting could have socioeconomic judgments backed by biases. Such situations could stop a student from going to their dream college, all based on their parent’s credit score, their disadvantaged status, or other outside influences. AI developers play the most significant part in mitigating these dangers, but the public should also be wary of the information they share and who they share it with. 

Dangers of AI in Education 

Students who enter secondary education institutions face all the risks above and more. Educational institutions hold distinct AI and technology tuned into the needs of their campus. On the one hand, this makes lectures easier than ever—with recordings, video colloquiums, file sharing, and AI grading systems; however, on the other hand, these AI features contribute to a lack of transparency. For example, institutions have no reason to require photo and location permissions on their campus. However, rejecting these permissions may prevent students from using their school’s Internet. 

Additionally, as outlined in the “students” paragraph above, when AI comes to be involved with decision-making, there is an increased risk of accidental socioeconomic judgments; this could look like students rejected from an institution based on their zip code or the auto-acceptance of students from a stereo-typically advantaged group. Either way, when AI is used to make choices on which students are accepted or rejected, there is a distinct loss of human influence. Only a human can accurately weigh all the competing factors, so developers must strive for clean data sets and transparency wherever possible.

Prevent the Dangers of AI

Dangers of AI in the Military 

Of course, children and students aren’t the only people working with AI risks. The dangers of AI in the military are particularly jarring, as there are debates over the communal violations of privacy and the obligations of unclear legal regulations. AI is a task-doer, and within closed environments, its risks are limited; however, when government institutions utilize it for autonomous weapons and data sourcing, the results are less appealing. AI in the military is a tool, but if that tool is broken or incomplete, the consequences can mean civilian lives. Military AI developers have unique risks they must account for when building their software—if they don’t keep these risks in mind, they can cost their nation more than money.

Dangers of AI in Healthcare 

Healthcare AI developers also have lives to consider; the rise of AI in healthcare is overwhelming to consider, as within a generation, entire health networks have moved from paper to tech files. On the one hand, this has resulted in better health options for each patient; however, AI has also had its share of problems in the field. Disinformation is rampant across some networks, thanks to the breaching of vendors’ systems—allowing cybercriminals to access and subsequently alter some patient data. Privacy violations are also common, mainly where professionals rely upon AI to transmute sensitive data between systems. Further, medical AI is prone to discrimination based on old or incomplete data sets. Healthcare AI developers are aware of these risks, but these dangers will continue to appear unless they create tech with them in mind. 

Dangers of AI to Society 

Of course, AI poses more dangers than just those that impact individuals. Our society is sensitive to the consequences of AI without standards and regulation; for example, deep fakes are increasingly common, posing threats to personhood and reputation damage. There is also an increased worry about techno-solutionismwhere capable people rely upon tech to solve all their problems. Job displacement is another worry, with increasing emphasis on a potential financial crisis brought on by AI developments. Most worrying, our society is on track for AI to offer insight into punitive and statistical perspectives within the justice system; when this happens, if the data aren’t clean, we could end up with unjustified incarcerations. It’s on the shoulders of AI developers and control regulators to respond and adapt to these dangers.

How Can We Prevent the Dangers of AI

Every day, technology develops; it evolves at break-neck speeds, and although it already permeates the world, the future only holds more of it. AI is a hallmark of humanity, but it has its dangers; consequently, developers must respond to and mitigate these risks. They can appeal to and influence local control regulators, argue for organizational standards across every company, include AI within their company culture, and develop AI with humanity in mind. 

However, developers aren’t the only influence on AI. Everyone who participates online contributes to AI, and its perspective and collection of data. These data collections could hold personal details—such is the fate of data on the dark web. Online users can help to mitigate the risks associated with data theft; they can start by limiting their public posts, and updating their passwords and making them strong.

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