Is AI A Detriment Or A Benefit To Society?

If you haven’t been paying attention, AI is the new player on the field, and it’s steadily taking names as it forges ahead into every realm of industry.

But is the technology too much for society to handle?

Sure, it makes jobs easier and can help with those mundane tasks, but could its integration in the market be more than we bargained for?

Some seem to see its amazing benefits while others only see doom and gloom with its development.

As AI continues to make inroads into various industries, one needs to question if it can really be all that it promises.

Debating both sides of the issue, 13 members of Forbes Technology Council share some of the reasons why AI is either a detriment or a benefit to society. Here’s what they had to say:

1. An Avenger In Waiting For Society

We've all had to deal with an automated phone system and the frustration it often brings. Machine learning and AI are changing that experience and so many others, using insights and data to better respond to customers in a personal and relevant way. This will directly benefit everyone in both the physical and the digital worlds, delivering value and a better customer experience. - Andres AngelaniSoftvision

2. Cyberattacks And Defense Will Be More Powerful

There is great fear regarding AI security concerns, and these are legitimate, considering that intelligent malware/ransomware can learn as it spreads and applies machine intelligence to coordinate global cyberattacks. Businesses need to react in real time strongly and quickly and fight AI with AI. Since they have no choice but to deploy AI cyberdefense, cybersecurity is becoming many people's first foray into the world of AI. - Matthew LiebermanPwC

 3. The World Won’t Function Without AI

Many predict that AI will create an imbalance in our society because only big corporations will have the resources needed to implement it. But AI won’t eliminate humanity. The more probable scenario for the future is that the world as we built it won’t function without AI. The reason is that we will need AI technologies to perform the jobs people will no longer want to perform. - Ivailo NikolovSiteGround

4. AI May Terminate Certain Jobs

Yes, it may, but this is good news. My prediction is that it will enhance current job tasks and eliminate certain functions, but this gives us all an opportunity to up our game. We should see more productivity and the continued focus on being able to do more with less. Honestly, AI is the natural next step in the technological revolution, and as with all forms of new progress, there is fear of the unknown. - Anna FrazzettoHarvey Nash

5. How Consumers Can Influence AI Development

The impact of AI will mostly be beneficial. However, there are some serious concerns that are well-founded and need to be addressed. And as consumers, we can influence how AI develops through our shopping behaviors. As digital assistants flood the marketplace, it is clear that AI benefits and enriches society, but it will take careful management and credible industry standards around standardization. - Silvio Tavares, CardLinx Association

6. Fear Of The Unknown

The fear is gaining more prominence, especially as futurists like Nick Bostrom and Elon Musk continue to bring it to the forefront of the consumer psyche. While some dangers of AI, such as job displacement without replacement, are undeniable, the revolutionary changes that AI could bring to health care, technology and retail should not be hindered by fear that is based on the question of “what if?” - Oliver TanViSenze

7. Fear Of Inferiority

Humans, to date, have been the smartest beings to walk the surface of the planet. We've been at the top of the food chain and thus controlled the world around us. AI presents us with the conundrum of an independent intelligence much greater than our own. It's natural to ponder what it will be capable of, or how it will think of us, once it sustains a consciousness. AI is ultimately our successor. - Tom Roberto, Core Technology Solutions

8. Bias-Driven AI

The theory that AI-driven decision making eliminates bias is naive. It fails to account for the bias inherent in the humans crafting algorithms and collecting data. If algorithms use socio-economic factors to drive decision making, there is a de facto risk of bias. Worse, the "consumers" of those algorithms often view them as a black box, making AI-driven bias extremely difficult to untangle. - Brian SaundersBigTime Software

 9. Expectations For Natural Language Answers

There are elements of AI that are most certainly a benefit to society, especially as we move rapidly forward with new technology changes. Many industries are now showing signs of an expectation for relying on instant answers to natural language questions as a way of interacting with complex systems and querying large data sets on the fly. AI enables this to happen instantly while on the job. - Dr. Jeremy Nunn, Workmetrics

10. AI Impact On Energy Efficiency 

AI is a benefit to society because machines can become smarter over time and increase efficiencies. Additionally, computers are not susceptible to the same probability of errors as human beings are. From an energy standpoint, AI can be used to analyze and research historical data to determine how to most efficiently distribute energy loads from a grid perspective. - Greg Sarich, CLEAResult

11. AI Doesn’t Replace Humans -- It Re-Energizes Them

Did you know AI has been around for nearly 70 years? That's a long time, and what was perceived as AI 70 years ago is perhaps not artificially intelligent now. AI exists to make human processes easier, which makes us more efficient and advances our society long term. Likely, what's perceived as AI today will be an integral part of human function 70 years from now, and that's exciting! - Brett JurgensNotion

12. Decision And Skill Augmentation

AI will soon provide significant decision and skill augmentation. Rather than decimating the workforce with automation, this will actually enable currently marginalized demographics to participate in the workforce in roles that previously required decades of training. This will enable economic mobility for struggling populations and increase the total productivity of the workforce. - Joseph Polverari, Versive

13. It Can Improve Usefulness Of Tools

AI is absolutely going to be a benefit. We’re already using this to help students study smarter and get to the information they really want faster. As an industry, we’re seeing major leaps in natural language processing and intuitive searches that are only going to continue to improve our abilities to build new and better tools for understanding the world around us. - Gregor CarriganCourse Hero


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