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AI: For Good or Evil?

Blog: Jim Sinur

AI has significant momentum now and contributes positively to businesses and everyday life. Today, industry and government leaders warn of the dangers of unbridled AI. So, let’s peel back the onion on AI for Good and AI for Evil. Next, let’s see what it takes to steer AI positively with as few side effects as possible. We all know all advancements come with good and bad effects. Look at the automobile, for instance. Autos take us to many places, but driving them unsafely without following the rules of the road leads to injury and even death.

AI Brings Good for Many Industries.

· Healthcare uses AI for preventive medicine, advanced diagnosis, personalized treatment plans, and drug discovery.

· Education uses AI for lifelong learning, adapting to changing career changes, shifting to new opportunities, and personal interests with virtual tutors and dynamic personalization.

· Transportation uses AI to optimize the planning and operation of smart cities, support various levels of autonomous vehicles, and optimize eco outcomes within the need for goal-directed efficiencies.

· Finance uses AI for investment management, wealth management, and fraud detection.

· Customer Service uses AI for hyper-personalization, sentiment analysis, and virtual assistants.

· Agriculture uses AI for sustainable farming by optimizing resource uses, automated or not, reducing waste, developing crops for climate change, and practicing sustainable soil management.

· Environmental Protection uses AI to design and implement effective climate change mitigation strategies, biodiversity monitoring, and resource management.

· Manufacturing uses AI in smart factories for optimization, efficient supply chains, and innovative material discovery.

· Entertainment uses AI for immersive experiences, innovative content creation, and audience engagement.

· Accessibility uses AI for inclusive design, enhanced communication across language barriers, and assistive technologies for the less capable.

AI Brings Good for Businesses

Businesses, in general, are using AI for enhanced decision-making in both a proactive and reactive manner. They are Improving the customer experience with AI while increasing their operational efficiency in a balanced fashion with AI. Marketing and sales are expanding their reach through better targeting and predictive forecasting. Businesses are creating new products and services with AI while better supporting their existing portfolio of products and services. AI helps with human resources with better engagement and automated recruitment. AI helps with fraud detection, compliance, and speedier governance. Businesses leverage AI for better expense management and investment strategies. Organizations can predict customer churn and measure customer sentiment in real time. Speaking of real-time, threat detection and vulnerability management can take advantage of AI. Businesses can increase their productivity, revenue, and costs while leading in sustainability through resource optimization and sustainability. Companies can take great advantage of various types of AI.

AI Brings Good for the Consumer

Consumers are experiencing many benefits of AI today, and AI is leading to even more benefits. Personalization provides tailored recommendations, customized voice/language engagement, and satisfaction with 24/7 availability and quick responses to overall needs, not just transactions. The shopping experience is improving with virtual try-ons and augmented/enhanced reality. Health assistants with links to telemedicine will help with preliminary notice of symptoms and diagnosis. Financial advice will be provided to optimize customer goals, both long and short-term. Recommendations for targets in the tsunami of content emerging to help the viewing/listening experiences. Home management and security will benefit from AI as well. Consumers will benefit from sustainability suggestions as well. Civic engagement, cultural preservation, and mental well-being are also benefits.

It’s hard to argue that AI is not used for good and that the expectations for more AI benefits are sky-high. Yet, at the same time, some horror is dribbling from under AI. There are bad actors out there trying to do evil with AI. Without all the rules of the AI road laid out yet, there is an opportunity for these bad actors. Some individuals use AI to gain advantage, leverage, and illegal financial gain. Some use AI to subvert power, weaponizing AI for offensive purposes.

AI Enables Bad Actors

· An early evil use of AI is for cyberattacks that target critical infrastructure, financial systems, or government systems for monetary gain, espionage, or sabotage.

· AI can bring social engineering and manipulation by using social engineering techniques to manipulate individuals, influence public opinions, and spread misinformation for financial or ideological gains.

· AI can perform mass surveillance, tracking individual movements, communications, and activities without their knowledge. AI can infringe on privacy rights and civil liberties.

· AI can power autonomous weapons and other forms of lethal weapon systems without human intervention. Drones or robotic soldiers are examples of weapons that could act alone or swarm to escalate conflicts or undermine international stability and security.

· AI can be used by adversaries, including cybercriminals, state actors, and terrorist organizations, to create a movement against established society.

· AI can inadvertently exhibit unintended behaviors or consequences that manifest as errors, biases, or impacts on individuals, organizations, or society at large.

· AI can be harnessed to perform financial crimes and fraud toward individuals or organizations.

· AI can be used to create deepfakes and misinformation to gain financial advantage or take down the reputations of individuals or organizations.

· AI can affect biases and exacerbate inequalities by targeting individuals or groups to displace people from jobs or make it hard to thrive.

· In the worst-case scenario, AI could pose existential risks to humanity if misused or developed with inadequate safeguards.

AI Enables Power Plays

Geopolitical competition will drive rivalries among nations, pushing them to vie for dominance and try to leverage AI for innovation for economic gain and technological and military advantages. While not all this is bad, it can be taken to extremes, leading to new global pressure points and chess matches. Some of it could lead to arms proliferation and a new arms race. The amount of cyberwarfare and spying is bound to increase. The real risk is the need for clear regulations, guidelines, and treaties. There is likely to be a blurring of AI for military and civilian uses that will also muddy the mix. There is also a real danger of a supervillain or group leveraging AI to extort or unduly influence others.

Net; Net:

The fear of Evil AI will not drown out Good AI for now. The control of autonomous weapons, cyber warfare, aggressive intelligence, and psychological operations should be planned for the future. Establishing international regulations, norms, and treaties is the best way forward. Agreeing on what ethical AI development is and monitoring it with transparency. A move towards more “human-in-the-loop” for lethal actions is needed. Establishing robust oversight and governance and promoting peace and diplomacy with AI can work for us. The proactive measures of establishing robust international regulations, enforcing ethical guidelines, promoting transparency, and fostering a culture of peace and diplomacy can mitigate risks and bad behavior from bad actors. The alternative is mutually assured destruction, as we have with nuclear powers.

Additional Reading:

Definition of AI

Future of AI
Fear of AI 
AI Inside Out  
AI Tributaries

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