There's an old joke which, while being completely untrue, perfectly sums up the humanity striving to invent new things and then make those invented things better.
It goes like this:
“A light switch was invented by a lazy man. Because the one who’s not lazy wouldn’t mind screwing in a light bulb.”
We are kind of lazy. We don’t want to spend time doing tedious and hard things, so we come up with things that do things for us.
Let’s talk about what pros and cons AI brings into our lives.
Defining Artificial Intelligence
We start with baby steps.
Let's define AI in a nice and simple way.
Artificial Intelligence is an umbrella term that includes any technology that emulates the human’s ability to hear, see, read any content, make sense of that content, remember what it has learned, and use that data to plan and think.
People have been thinking about all that AI for a very long time.
You might think of the first computers that facilitated complex calculations, or machines that could play chess on par with humans.
But it goes farther back than this.
We can find mentions of machines that serve people even in ancient Greek myths: Hephaestus is worth mentioning here. Being the god of invention, he created golden servants with knowledge of god, or Talos — a giant sentient being made from bronze.
But, as it often happens in those myths, as soon as those inventions appear on Earth — everything goes south.
We often read the news about Google testing self-driving vehicles. And then, a couple of months later, you hear about a person getting injured in a car accident caused by a self-driving vehicle.
So, let’s dive into the pros and cons of Artificial Intelligence.
What AI brings to the table
Eliminating human error
As unfortunate as it is, human bodies and minds are not perfect.
We can forget things, confuse concepts, and misinterpret data.
Artificial Intelligence algorithms perform a straightforward analysis of the data and learn from it.
It provides better accuracy with no mistakes: AI never forgets a piece of data that can turn the sales forecast on its head — obviously, because the data is stored on hard drives and you’re good unless you physically damage them.
Doing the things that humans want to do often includes a lot of risk.
It appears that we are not satisfied with our conventional pedestrian capabilities.
We want to go fast, we want to go to the bottom of the ocean, or to the Moon and back.
And what’s even better — we want to go to all of those things fast.
But that might be dangerous, right?
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So we can have AI do that for us. Let it calculate things, take over the navigation, choose the best route, and so on — having all the data, Artificial Intelligence will make the best and the safest decisions.
AI can power disaster-response systems and bomb-defusing robots as well to keep people safe.
For instance, AI is already used in space exploration — it analyzes the data and even helps navigate the flights.
Facilitating repetitive tasks
We have to do a lot of stuff when going about our everyday lives, and unfortunately, not all of them are very exciting.
Sometimes you just have to update documents, send emails, and check your writing for grammar, however tedious it is.
But what if you didn’t have to?
Having Artificial Intelligence take over those tasks is a great perk: it takes little time to thank a customer for a purchase, answer their questions, and do a ton of other things.
Such as creating promotional content. It is fun cutting a trailer for an upcoming movie your studio is about to put out, but how about doing that for hundreds of movies?
AI can automatically do that for you as well. It’s faster and just as accurate.
Going beyond human ability to create
The speed at which AI works with data is unattainable for human beings. And sometimes, that difference may mean a lot.
For example, Artificial Intelligence has better data insights when it comes to detecting diseases. When sometimes a human may miss emerging tumors from reading a medical image, AI identifies them.
It’s not a 100% certainty: the results may be true, falsely positive, or falsely negative. But with situations as serious as those are, the solutions are built to lean towards falsely positive results rather than negative to enable doublechecking and more accurate diagnosis.
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The same problem appears when working with big data. Humans would take forever to analyze it and generate insights, while AI easily handles it.
Those insights may translate into inventions that humans would never come up with. Or they would, but in a much longer period of time. Artificial Intelligence, on the other hand, may swiftly offer the new medicine, or formula for a new type of plastic when met with a proper problem.
Disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence
But of course, as with all things, AI also has its cons.
In order to have all the AI goodies, you first need to spend some time and coin.
That means hiring a specialist or a team which will build the algorithm for you, and install the required hardware.
If you’re using AI-powered machinery, it requires costly maintenance because it is more complex.
But you still save money with the increased productivity and effectiveness.
As we mentioned earlier, AI can perform routine and repetitive tasks to improve our lives.
It’s great to have a machine analyzing and editing all of the video content for you, but the downside is that some of those tasks were originally somebody’s jobs.
And now they may not have that job.
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It’s not that bad, though. Artificial Intelligence can’t possess the level of context understanding and extraordinary thinking of humans, so in most fields they facilitate the work of humans, not replacing them completely.
In addition, AI systems require moderation and maintenance, which is performed by humans.
Lack of creative thinking
Essentially, Artificial Intelligence can recognize faces if it’s trained to do so.
Should you need it to analyze the video and tell which of the faces belong to main or side characters — then we got a problem.
That often means that algorithms have to be moderated and re-trained in order to deal with new problems.
But that can be solved with the implementation of more complex technology, like Cognitive Computing. Those can navigate their way around unfamiliar problems and use context analysis to come up with the solutions.
Here you have it — pros and cons of Artificial Intelligence.
In many ways, it facilitates many things we do as humans: taking upon itself the analysis of large volumes of data and providing humans with useful insights, as well as taking over repetitive and mundane tasks.
But there are caveats.
Some might fear that the cost of AI implementation is high. Others worry about it taking over people’s jobs. And the third concern revolves around its ability to deal with unexpected problems.
There is hope for AI, though, as most of its shortcomings can be solved.
For instance, the upfront costs of AI implementation can be mitigated with revenue and productivity gains from more efficient workflows.
When it comes to jobs, AI will make a great coworker for humans, taking on tedious tasks. People will still have tasks that require human intuition and insight.
As for flexibility issues, we can solve those by powering AI with more complex algorithms that can try to understand the context, and learn to solve unfamiliar problems by mining data from a larger pool of sources.