The effect of Artificial Intelligence on the economy and humanity.
October 15, 2021
Writer at Motus News
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a science field that develops intelligent machines and computers, which can gather information and perform difficult tasks faster and more accurately than human beings. The Fourth Industrial Revolution introduced this field to the world, and developed countries are already using it to increase their economic productivity.
Yet, this technology demands high investments and knowledge. Less privileged countries and citizens have little access to AI, which leads to misinformation, doubt, and fear regarding the applications of this technology. As a consequence, there is a recurrent depiction of AI as a danger to society as we know it. For example, in the movie “The Terminator" a rebellious artificial intelligence called Skynet starts a nuclear war, devastating our planet. In fact, these negative effects of the use of AI portrayed in the movie may happen in reality, since the unregulated use of this technology can be very harmful to the world's society and economy.
AI and Human Conflicts
Many people share the opinion that AI may become a menace to humanity, including experts. In 2017, the entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk, with more than 100 leaders in AI and robotics signed an open letter to the United Nations (UN). They asked for the organization to veto the use of autonomous weapons as a way to prevent a "third revolution in the armaments of war". The letter stated that: "[...]Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.[...]"
In summary, AI surpasses the human limits in destructive power, and we have neither preparation nor knowledge on how to fix the possible devastation caused by the machines
AI and the Economy
Moreover, AI can replace workers in various fields, generating structural unemployment: a socioeconomic problem that already affects several countries in different sectors of the economy. To elaborate, structural unemployment is when there are fewer jobs available to the population due to the use of robots and machines to perform those tasks. The Boston Consulting Group predicts that the proportion of work done by robots will increase from 8% to 26% by the end of the decade, and the World Economic Forum estimates that AI machines will replace 85 million jobs by 2025.
This is due to AI evolving from performing simple and repetitive manual labor to intellectual and sophisticated work. It can replace human service providers of all economic sectors, especially those in positions that require high accuracy and efficiency, such as accounting and data analysis. Besides that, even if the jobs aren’t replaced by robots, laborers will be required to learn how to operate those machines through specialization, which is rarely provided by their employers. Thus, many workers will lose their jobs in favor of more qualified candidates.
In conclusion, if the use of artificial intelligence is not properly regulated, the immediate productivity benefits will underweight the increase in the destructive power of military weapons and structural unemployment, causing harm to the human economy and society, approaching our future to a film dystopia.