Being able to take this class as a sophomore was really a great experience as it gave me the opportunity to hear insights not just from a good professor but also from so many of my peers, some of whom have many more years schooling than myself. The interactive nature of this class really allowed for the most interesting concepts and ideas to be brought forward from not just a single source of a professor which is typically the case for a college curriculum but from countless different people.
While I truly value the knowledge that I’ve acquired in this class, I do believe there are definitely some drawbacks to it. The old saying goes “knowledge is power, ignorance is bliss, and happiness is finding the perfect medium”. I do believe that the vast amount of knowledge I’ve gained in these past 12 weeks from both doing research for my own blogs as well as what we’ve learned in class may have crossed that line just a bit and raised a lot of concerns for me that I previously didn’t have had.
How The Advances In Technology Have Made Us Vulnerable
The recent advances in technologies are not just compromising much of the foundations of our societal structure both morally and economically, it has made the general public more vulnerable in a lot of ways now than it ever was before due to the vastly advancing technological world. The problem isn’t only caused by the exploitation of consumers by big companies and cyber criminals, it’s also enabled by the average users’ lack of understanding, over-confidence in their knowledge, and ever-growing dependency on the newest technologies.
The over-dependency of the average American on new technologies has made it so that information about people has never been more accessible than it is right now. While people in this class may understand the extent of this, a majority of technology users don’t. Companies know more and more about people through the various data collection processes in the digital world whether the average person realizes it or not. Even if a person does understand, there isn’t much they can do about it because the alternative is to abandon certain technologies that are becoming more and more necessary for everyday life.
More and more technologies and parts of our daily lives are becoming interconnected and are being implemented with networking capabilities, which means they are able to be hacked. While cybersecurity has become a huge priority in recent years, there will always be criminals who will find a way to beat the system. The common theme of the successful criminals throughout history is that they’re much smarter than the average person and they use this intelligence to exploit flaws in certain systems. They can exploit these to gain people’s person data or much worse. Cybersecurity expert Mikko Hypponen states that a majority of crime will be happening digitally in upcoming years. Things like medical devices that are necessary for individuals to live, cars, law enforcement communication devices, and so many more things are all hackable now.
Artificial intelligence, in short, is an extremely sophisticated computer system that functions by using algorithms that process information by understanding language and not just simply by reading computer code like previous software systems before it. It can teach itself new things, process raw & unstructured information, and develop its own theories unlike previous machine learning systems that could only put out what was put into them in a neat and organized format.
Machine-learning expert Nick Bostrom states “Machine intelligence is the last invention mankind will ever need to make. Machines will be better at inventing than we are”. This is the most important invention mankind has ever made. While the effects of it can be debated, almost all experts agree that machine intelligence is going to surpass human intelligence. Throughout history, human performance has grown at a very gradual rate. Human performance rate has a limit which is the mental capabilities of mankind. The capability of artificial intelligence is a very different situation because it grows exponentially rather than gradually and there is no limit as to how much information it can have at its disposal.
If you take a look at this map, anywhere that is blue is a place that services account for over 80% of the jobs in that particular country. Things like diagnosing diseases, finding legal precedents, driving cars, and preparing food are all considered services. These are all things that require skills like reading & writing, integrating knowledge, looking at things, or speaking & listening. These are all considered frequent, high-volume tasks. These are the exact types of tasks that artificial intelligence machines excel in. Humans have no chance at competing with machines in fields like this. While a human teacher may read 10,000 essays in a 40-year career, a machine is able to process millions of essays in minutes. Artificial intelligence will eventually disrupt the global job market and our way of life more than anything mankind has ever seen before.
There are certain industries that, as of now, are less anticipated than others to be disrupted by this new technology in upcoming years. Machine learning has made very little progress in addressing novel situations, things they haven’t seen before. The way that this type of software functions is by analyzing large quantities of data about a particular subject and only then can it begin to operate efficiently. If an industry has a lot of novel situations in it, it is likely that machines will not be able to perform as efficiently as humans in it. Things like police work, business strategies to find gaps in a market, and many things within the arts like design and music will likely be last to be affected by these developments in technology.
I’ve learned a lot of things in this class that I’ve found extremely interesting but like I said before, “knowledge is power, ignorance is bliss, and happiness is finding the perfect medium”. While I’ve learned about countless technologies that I’m extremely excited to see develop in these upcoming years that I think will do a lot of good for mankind, there’s also a lot of concerns that have risen for me that I previously wouldn’t have had that I feel need to be addressed. That being said, it’s been a pleasure being in this class and hearing the insights of my fellow classmates and Professor Kane. #IS6621