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Artificial Intelligence (AI) – is it boon or threat?

This question is being debated for quite a while. Despite the advancements in AI, industry experts feel that there are both good and bad about what is emerging.

Why do there are concerns about artificial intelligence today? After all AI is an emerging technology which takes huge amounts of information from a specific domain and uses machine learning techniques to mimic human brain to make decisions for action. Is it not a better proposition?  Yes and No. Soon, there are going to be machines overtaking human in many domains but still humans are needed and will be superior to machines for foreseeable time to come.

Does it mean, AI is a silver bullet? Lee Fisher, head of security at Juniper Networks says “AI is no silver bullet, for good programmers or bad hackers, but who will win first?”  Good and bad things will continue to happen with AI as there will be more innovation and creative ways from both the lobbies just like nukes.

First, on the bad side. With large scale deployment of AI, a single failure of an AI system could cause potential to damage human well-being on a global scale though it is difficult to quantify such effects today. Probably that’s why experts such as Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and Elon Musk have expressed concerns about AI.  Elon Musk , the daring entrepreneur who is envisioning human settlements in Mars, has recently suggested, there needs to be a regulatory mechanisms at global and national level to reduce the risks of AI advancements.

While AI is surely redefining the business models and economic landscape, it will also eliminate thousands of jobs in many sectors. For commoners and non-IT savvy, it may be difficult to comprehend today, but this is what being predicted with software advancements such as RPA(Robotic Process Automation) and technologies such as self-driving cars and industrial robots, displacing factory workers, construction workers, drivers, delivery workers and many others.

Now, to the good side. If developed and ethically applied, AI will ultimately enhance intelligence in human beings. Though there are many opinions that one day AI and machine learning will overpower human understanding, it is certain that such beliefs are overrated.   ML will bring more opportunities and will be more effective by making decisions faster and be less expensive than humans and will always need humans to teach them, feed them with newer scenarios and have the ultimate control over machines. To answer the growing cyber security threats, AI and ML could be right weapon in future. In other words, as quoted in Harvard Business Review, AI is the future of cyber security, for better or worse.


-Prof. Ramamurthy Venkatesh

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