Artificial intelligence (AI) has reshaped a number of global industries over the past several years, mostly for the better.
This is partially due to the pandemic-induced adoption of technology in most workplaces, allowing everyday people to see firsthand how AI can be leveraged for growth. But regardless of the reason, it is undeniable the way AI has propelled technology. Major innovations in robotics, analytics, IoT, and voice assistance exist thanks to AI proliferation. And every day, new AI patents are filed.
But as AI accelerates into our lives, how will it impact our future? Some technology experts are optimistic. Others fear artificial intelligence could grow into something more sinister. Continue reading to learn how AI is impacting our world today so that you can get an idea of how AI will change the future, for better or worse.
The Impact of AI
Through algorithmic learning, AI has the power to isolate relevant data, identify underlying patterns, and generate comprehensive analyses with the aid of extensive computer knowledge. Put more simply: AI is smarter than us. But is this a good thing? Already, AI has impacted numerous industries around the world—specifically healthcare, cybersecurity, manufacturing, and transportation.
Healthcare: Particularly since the pandemic, AI has helped to promote a digital, more patient-centered healthcare system. AI processes can track and monitor patients in real-time, assess individual lifestyle, analyze genetic data, and simplify diagnostics so that doctors can treat patients more effectively. With machine learning and predictive analytics, AI also accelerates vaccine development and drug discovery. And since it’s all digital, AI makes electronic medical records more accessible than ever.
Cybersecurity: Nowadays, cyberattacks and other forms of online crime are on the rise. To combat this trend, AI is enabling sophisticated cybersecurity measures that would have been impossible to achieve in the past. Now, AI can be used as an effective tool in the battle against cyberattacks.
Manufacturing: AI-powered robotics have improved the manufacturing sector immensely. Already, researchers have created self-learning robots that are able to adapt to changing environments and learn to move on their own. Thus, factory work is much safer and more efficient with robotics taking care of much of the labor. And predictive analytics further help to enhance product quality and streamline supply chain and logistics.
Transportation: More recently, we’ve seen the evolution and commercialization of smart self-driving vehicles. Already in use today, although not yet widespread, self-driving cars foreshadow a future two or three decades ahead, where AI-powered transportation is safe, smooth, automatic, and eco-friendly. Imagine a world without any car accidents. AI might soon make that a reality.
AI and the Human Workforce
At this point, the fear that artificial intelligence will replace the human workforce and lead to widespread unemployment is a sci-fi trope. Sure, on the surface AI automation might sound like a threat to workers, but this is an inaccurate perspective. Automated systems do not replace workers; rather, automation frees up the human workforce so that employees have more time for customer interaction, market strategizing, creativity, big-picture thinking, and positive team building. In other words, AI allows everyone to do the work they’d much rather be doing.
Oftentimes, implementing an AI solution will create new jobs higher up that need to be filled. So since AI may soon replace routine jobs (like packaging goods, manufacturing parts, answering phone calls, etc.), those workers should be given the opportunity to upskill and learn to fulfill new roles created within the company. This will help transition the human workforce from outdated labor to new, more relevant work, like coding, programming, and other jobs AI cannot yet perform.
The Future and AI—Is There Cause for Concern?
AI possesses capabilities and potential we still can’t even imagine. Research indicates the future of AI is heading toward reinforcement learning and training algorithms based on Generative Adversarial Networks. The fight against climate change will also be a driving factor in future AI development, so it is likely that AI will pave the way to more sustainable technologies that reduce pollution and support the environment.
However, there are some areas of concern that are worth noting. For instance, many AI critics highlight its tendency toward bias and privacy infringement. AI voice assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa, are often blamed for eavesdropping, and facial recognition technology is seen as an invasion of human privacy. It is important that development companies and research firms create ethical guidelines for AI creation. These guidelines should emphasize an approach based on unbiased algorithms so that AI of the future is safe and beneficial for everyone.
Currently, our scope of available AI is still narrow. Smart robots don’t walk the streets, and self-driving cars are nowhere near affordable for the average person. But based on the positive indicators examined in this article, the future for AI should be bright and hopeful.
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