Artificial intelligence has had a huge impact on many industries in recent years and will continue to benefit them in the future. The pandemic-induced acceleration of technology adoption has led many sectors, both private and public to leverage AI for their advantage and growth. In the last few years, AI has enabled many innovations and driven the proliferation of technologies like IoT, robotics, analytics, and voice assistants. According to a report, AI topped the patent filings in 2020. This is not new, AI has been securing a large number of patents in the last few years.
Impact of AI
Artificial Intelligence has had huge impacts in the healthcare sector, especially since the pandemic last year. AI and other disruptive technologies powered a patient-centered healthcare system. This new care scenario is all digital and highlights the importance of data and analytics. Predictive analytics, machine learning, and AI played a pivotal role in drug discovery and vaccine development. In the coming years, the use of these advanced technologies will become the norm, and easily accessible electronic medical records will simplify diagnostics. AI will enable healthcare systems to track and monitor patients in real-time, gain genetic data, and each person’s lifestyle. Algorithms will take up the charge of diagnosing health conditions and prescribing suitable treatments.AI has a lot to offer to the transportation and manufacturing sectors. In the coming years, we might witness the perfect evolution and commercialization of smart and autonomous vehicles. Self-driving cars are already available today, but by the next two to three decades, the world will witness more people using them. The manufacturing sector will also gain benefits from AI. Increased use of robots in factories and predictive analytics in the sector will enhance the quality of products and streamline the logistics and supply chain. Other potential impacts of AI would be in elder care systems, education, finance and business, customer services, media, space exploration, smart cities, and smart homes.
Will AI Dismantle the Human Workforce?
his fear has always been looming on artificial intelligence. Experts and tech giants like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawkings have warned humans against the adverse consequences and threats of the technology. One of the widely claimed consequences is AI taking over the human workforce and causing massive job losses. This claim is highly overblown and researchers agree that although AI might displace humans from some job roles, it will not replace the whole workforce. AI is likely to replace routine jobs and repetitive tasks like picking and packaging goods, separating and segregating materials, responding to repetitive customer queries, etc. Even today some of these functions are still done by humans and AI will take over these tasks in the future. Thus, the human workforce engaged in these simple and routine jobs should be upskilled and trained to perform new skills. As we are very far from reaching artificial general intelligence, the current technology cannot augment human intelligence fully. This is the reason people should be trained to do high-skilled tasks like programming, coding, and others that are essential for the future. The transition from the old to the new job should be smoothened to reduce the massive impacts.
Should we fear Apocalypse?
Recently, a paper published by researchers at AMOLF’s Soft Robotic Matter group, exhibited how self-learning robots can easily adapt to changing circumstances. These small robotic units were connected to each other for them to learn on their own to move. The future will harness the hidden capabilities of AI and encourage the creation of self-learning robots. Reinforcement learning and training algorithms based on Generative Adversarial Networks will be explored. AI will also prove a flagbearer for sustainable technologies and will be used against fighting climate change by reducing pollution levels and encouraging green AI research. Another threat posed by AI is the violation of human rights by impacting privacy. For example, voice assistants like Alexa and technologies like facial recognition have been blamed for invading the privacy of humans and probably eavesdropping into their lives. These technologies are feared to be used by the powerful state and federal authorities against specific minorities and will curtail the freedom of speech and expression. Thus, AI needs to evolve much to move ahead of these criticisms and enable an ethical and trustworthy system in the future.
Hence, AI as such might not become a threat to human existence. However, there are chances that humans might misuse the capabilities of the technology for causing harm. The scenario of war robots being used to feed harmful motives through their algorithms can be an example. Therefore, in the years ahead, it is necessary to develop an ethical AI ecosystem without human biases and this might alleviate the potential risks of AI in the future.