Is AI Good or Evil: The War On the Perception Gap
I think it’s safe to say the majority of us have watched too many movies.
There is a distinct connection between the “good vs evil” AI characters written for action-based projects and the reality of the technology we have in front of us.
Whilst people could argue, “What if it gets into the wrong hands?” to be honest, you could consider that it already is: The robots haven’t decided to take over just yet. This is a joke.
If you’ve watched the news or read from more generalised media outlets, there’s a feeling of uncertainty surrounding most people, as if this is a completely new thing.
Most tech-savvy people have been on it for a couple years, if not the past 10/11 months.
And privately funded military innovation groups? They’ve been doing it way longer.
To put it incredibly simply, Artificial Intelligence is a brand of computer science that focuses on creating intelligent machines capable of replicating human thought processes and tasks.
These tasks include problem-solving, pattern recognition, decision-making, and language understanding.
Go and watch something like Tron or Tron: Legacy; that’s fun, and it covers intelligent code.
It’s the driving force behind technologies like virtual assistants (Alexa, Siri), recommendation systems (Netflix and Spotify), self-driving and park-assist in cars, healthcare diagnostics, and much more.
So getting spooked out when you hear about AI and then asking your Alexa to play ‘Gangnam Style’ isn’t exactly “keeping you safe”.
General Public’s Perspective
Lack of Exposure
Those who aren’t as experienced or interested in technology aren’t going to have a clue.
And what do people tend to do when they only know a half-truth? Make as many assumptions as possible.
As a result, they often harbour fear and scepticism about AI, stemming from the fear of the unknown.
Though, there is a lot of good we can do with developing AI and machine learning algorithms.
Fear of the Unknown
What do you see when you think of AI? A black box? Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator?
It’s often imagined as something menacing, or with the capacity to be evil, where all life-altering decisions are made by algorithms no one understands.
Many worry about AI making choices that could affect their lives, from job prospects to healthcare recommendations, without them being privy to how those decisions are reached.
No one likes feeling out of control, especially when they don’t understand what is happening.
However, if you were recently looking for something to watch, Netflix showed you “Our Top Picks for You”, and you chose one: AI has already started making decisions for you.
But is AI good or evil?
Misconceptions and Misinformation
The general public is susceptible to misconceptions and misinformation about AI.
Sensational headlines and dystopian portrayals in movies have fuelled these misconceptions. Don’t worry; Ryan Reynolds from Free Guy can’t hurt you.
Some people believe that AI has human-like consciousness and the potential for rogue behaviour, leading to concerns about the safety and control of AI systems.
Reliance on AI in Daily Life
As previously mentioned, it’s ironic while some of the general public may fear AI, they often rely on it more than most.
Phone users, for instance, depend on AI-driven applications for navigation, recommendations, and personal assistance.
People may not realise its AI, and because it’s directly helping them, they haven’t got a problem with it.
Convenience vs. Privacy Concerns
As people enjoy the convenience, they may neglect or underestimate the associated privacy concerns.
AI systems often collect vast amounts of personal data to improve their functionality.
Data collection can raise concerns about security, privacy breaches, and unauthorised access.
This is something that Governments worldwide are trying to figure out how to regulate.
On top of that, copyright laws for generated images, books or scripts.
Media Portrayal of AI
The media likes stirring the pot with everything, so naturally, it’s not any different for AI.
Sensationalist reporting is what can create public fears about it, not the code itself.
I recently watched a news report about writers feeling injustices by Amazon sellers using Chat GPT to write books.
It showed two sides of the argument: one guy who thinks it’s amazing for creative industries, especially when he’s stuck with ideas. And the other, a lady who felt marginalised by the whole thing.
Hilariously, someone in the room made the comment, “Well, you seem to have a lot of other people’s books behind you”, implying that her inspiration can be taken from them, so what’s the difference between that and using AI?
They’ll mention this, but they won’t mention the new Beatles song being aided by AI: it’s all to guide opinion.
For those of you who understand the wide usage of AI, certain creatives and their opposition to it probably isn’t a surprise.
The media are still acting as if it’s completely new, so it will be interesting to see how people’s opinions change over time.
Tech-Savvy Perspective: Is AI Good or Evil?
Those who are into it are really into it.
They understand that, more than anything, AI is a tool, not a sentient being.
Appreciating Its Potential and Limitations
Some are more likely to appreciate the vast potential of AI.
They understand that AI can augment human capabilities, improve our efficiency, and address complex problems.
Likewise, it’s always important to be acutely aware of its limitations.
It’s still learning a lot, so it doesn’t really get context or human oversight, alongside the potential for biased decision-making.
Embracing AI as a Tool
Professionals need to hop on the AI bandwagon if they haven’t already.
Pretty much every industry can benefit in some way from AI’s current development.
Food and photography industries can save money, resources and time by generating images.
You might explore AI’s capabilities beyond what’s readily available.
People have experimented with programming AI and machine learning and even contributed to its research.
Active Engagement with AI Development
These individuals go beyond being consumers of AI; they actively engage with AI development and advocate for responsible AI use.
Contributing to the AI Community
Many tech-savvy individuals contribute to the AI community by sharing knowledge, open-source projects, and participating in discussions.
They work to make AI more accessible and inclusive.
Like what we’ve done with Impossible Images: It’s opening up image generation to the public as an image stock library with an integrated image generator.
Advocating for Responsible AI Use
We often advocate for ethical and responsible AI development.
It’s important to push for transparency, fairness, and accountability in AI systems.
For many AI contributors, enthusiasts and artists who work symbiotically with it, legitimising the world we work in is vital for any successful future development.
The War on the Perception Gap
The question of is AI good or evil sways public opinion and thus, policies and regulations.
If the media is stirring up an anti-artificial-intelligence frenzy, it’s going to become very hard to rationalise the need for extended legitimacy to world leaders.
It’s important that people can see both sides of the story and hopefully begin to understand that it’s not something that will take over their minds, instead it’s something that could help billions of people.
Bridging the Gap
Education is something that’s incredibly important.
Promoting AI literacy is a good start in patching things up.
Fact-checking and responsible media reporting can help reduce the unnecessary fear and scepticism around it.
Public campaigns and fun ads seem to work with most brands, so there’s no reason AI couldn’t have the same advertisement: show people the good it can do before they have a chance to reel off why it’s “evil”.
So is AI Good or Evil?
Though this seems like more of a rant, please understand that AI isn’t what we’ve created in films.
It’s very real, but some AI technologies are still in the early stages, and some are moving super fast, so try and keep up with it.
If you’re not convinced, I urge you to do some research, experiment with technologies for yourself and see where it takes you.
And if you still think it’s out to get you, I wouldn’t recommend using any technology made in the last 23 years.