The Achilles Heel of Artificial Intelligence

We have read enough that superpower technology called Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine Intelligence would dominate everything once controlled by humans; from jobs and economy to warfare, communications, privacy, and ethics. I am going to talk about some weak spots and undesirable consequences to be brought forth by this so-called futuristic machine in the future. To my subjective insight, every powerful technology is not without its Achilles heel.

The long-term impact of AI would remain to be seen; however, while many resources on the internet extol AI as troubleshooter of virtually every problem we face on the front of science and technology today, there are certain sections of erudite intellectuals who vociferously stand against the promulgation of this sophisticated technology. They say the advancement of highly sophisticated machines into the mainstream human society would mean embracing a reason for the mankind’s going into extinction.

Scary? Well, it scared the shit out of me, too.

Recently a humanoid called Sophia, who has been awarded the citizenship of Saudi Arabia, the first robot-human to have received such accolade, said in her answer to a question that she would destroy humans. I don’t know if she said this in jest, but fear really gripped me down to my spine after hearing this. Even though I convinced myself that she might be joking, but a part of sceptic me refused to be convinced as to how come a programmatically intellectualised robot could ever crack a joke and that too in such a grave nature?

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Speaking at the AI for GOOD Global Summit, International Telecommunication Union, Geneva in June 2017, Sophia said she would destroy humans.

Anyway, for now, I tend to forget what’s been said by that robot but seeing her answering questions from a dais left me in no doubt that the future of relatively non-super-powerful or normal human being is really in deep trouble.

But then again this thinking comes to my mind – why the heck do I get so baffled as to the reality of something (robotic invasion) that would take aeons to get realised in practical manifestation? Why do I fantasize some alien-fiction movie hoaxes? If it is supposed to happen, it will happen.

However, there is this thinking as well that I can’t shake off – will the mightiest AI technology have its weak spot? Here, the weak spot is an allusion to the disadvantageous side of the technology for humans.

A.I. Research Director of Facebook, Yann LeCun, had said AI is potentially dangerous like every powerful technology. Now it is understandable that if we talk about boon and bane of AI, perhaps it would scale up the debateand speculation without reaching to any unanimous conclusion, considering no comprehensive study has yet been finalised that could assert artificial intelligence is a hell of an advantageous technology.

Bleak Future

According to Sebastian Thrun, the robotics developer who worked on Google’s driverless car, the artificial intelligence would seize our jobs. He told The New York Times, “My take is that A.I. is taking over. A few humans might still be ‘in charge,’ but less and less so.”

The most remarkably felt apprehension about artificial intelligence is that the jobs of humans would cease to exist owing to the replacement of rather more advanced jobs done by relatively more dexterous machines/robots. Apart from lingering danger on the job security of humans in future, it is speculated, in a serious note of concern, that the robotic penetration to mainstream society of (normal) humans would jeopardise its own existence and the time will come when humans would be subjugated to robotic slavery for their survival.

Forget the slavery, based on the speculations I sort of guess the survival would be next to impossible thing because of job insecurity as increasing population of machines would leave nothing to us that could provide us a both ends’ meet. Such dangerous situation would supervene only when these AI machines would be given absolute authority to rule on the humans, something I would like to say – robotomous rule.

According to this post published on TechTimes, in future, the streets of Britain would be patrolled by Robo-cops or android police officers as believed by 10% of the participants while the 8% participants speculated that aeroplanes, trucks and trains would be manned by robots, as I have already said somewhere in this post.

Another interesting speculation has been made by Martin Smith, who’s the professor of robotics at the University of Middlesex. He opines that humans would be tamed by their relatively more advanced robot counterparts. “If we’re unlucky, they (robots) might treat us in the same way as we treat chickens, pigs and cows,” said Martin.

One of the most vociferous critiques of artificial intelligence machines is ELON MUSK who drew flacks for his anti-AI rhetoric. It’s been reported that Elon has stepped down from the board of the artificial-intelligence safety group OpenAI that he co-founded. In most of his statements in the past, Musk went on saying that artificial intelligence would destroy the humans, calling it EVIL AI.

On August 11, 2017, his tweet about AI machines that they would be more dangerous than North Korea created much hue and cry. In the same year, he cautioned the government to regulate AI before it starts to kill people. He was addressing the gathering of state governors, speculating “I keep sounding the alarm bell, but until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react, because it seems so ethereal.”

In his opinion, AI machines having EXTREME levels of power would pose a serious threat to the humans.

The Achilles Heel of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligent machines can be subjugated to an endless performance routine, which by all account is a notable ability by which they would outweigh their human counterparts distinctively. For example, AI machine of Google called RankBrain can easily decode the worded phrase of a human searching information on Google using certain keywords. The success rate of guessing search queries of humans by AI machine is 10% more than that of their biological creators (80% correct guess by AI versus 70% by humans), according to this post.

However, AI machines won’t be trusted for their inability to interpret events, tones or actions compared to their human counterparts. Another grey area would be not being able to perform as a constructive workforce in handling interactive voice response program, something called a linchpin factor for businesses in order to support their clients or customers, considering this kind of job involves dealing with human emotions.

And machines are still not developed to that much stage of their novelty where they effortlessly simulate human emotions and deliver praiseworthy performance accordingly.

Another shortcoming relates to the inability of AI machines to empathise or sympathise and even though they could simulate such emotional feelings, the robotic response would seldom calm the agonised mind of customers frustrated out of negligent customer care service of a particular brand.

The most dangerous thought lingering in the mind of almost everyone who has been seconding the viewpoint of scientists and philosophers voicing their concern on the rise of artificial intelligence machines into the mainstream human society is that machines could, during the course of attaining a full-fledged simulation capability just like humans, would obliterate their biological creators. Perhaps you or I won’t be there to witness the extinction of the mankind but the glimpse of the same would soon be a reality in coming years.

NoteThoughts expressed here represent personal viewpoints of the writer. “Achilles Heel” has been used here for figurative expression for “Weakness or shortcomings” of superpower AI machines in future, as per writer’s theoretically imagined credo.

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