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Timpa: Artificial Intelligence and Superficial Promises

While it is true that AI seems to be bringing the sci-fi genre to life, it can’t seem to shake the dystopian themes which always seem to coincide.
%28Design+by+Kristofer+Hoon+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Kristofer Hoon
(Design by Kristofer Hoon | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

For most of its existence, artificial intelligence has remained a niche area of innovation explored exclusively by experts. It wasn’t until the late 2010s,  alongside the pandemic, that AI quickly rose to become a household name.

Long gone are the days when AI was a mysterious subdivision of computer science accessible only to the most educated on the subject. With inventions such as ChatGPT, now anyone with an internet connection can access this technology.

The floodgates are now open, and the stage is set for AI to become the next big thing in the tech industry. In the same way, the computer revolutionized the world, so did artificial intelligence. Or at least so it was thought.

It has been nearly half a decade since AI began to crawl its way into society with the promise of propelling the modern age into that of science fiction knowledge. While it is true that AI seems to be bringing the sci-fi genre to life, it can’t seem to shake the dystopian themes which always seem to coincide.

Artificial intelligence and its future impact on the world look grim. Rather than live up to the promise of designing a better world, it appears to be streamlining its downfall.

Workplace Impact 

Artificial intelligence has become most prominent in labor. Many U.S. companies have adopted AI technology in some form.

As a worker who requires no pay, yet is far more productive, it is the ideal candidate for employers looking to increase revenue. Integration of AI into the workforce has become an arms race. Companies that can integrate it the fastest and most efficiently outpace those unable to keep up.

Although AI has not advanced to the point where it is more cost-effective to replace humans, it is rapidly approaching that benchmark.

Workers themselves are often left out of the discussion when companies begin considering AI integration. As technology advances, workers are becoming more exposed to their jobs becoming obsolete.

Promised the elimination of tedious tasks, employees are now worrying about the elimination of their entire job.

The problem only worsens for low-income workers. Low-wage workers are 14 times as likely to have to change occupations due to AI automation.

This sort of mentality at the forefront of business decisions risks becoming a tragedy of the commons. Every business acts in its own best interest, which will eventually doom them all.

When every business opts to not pay for human employment, there will be nobody left with enough purchasing power to keep them afloat.

War on Creativity 

One of artificial intelligence’s biggest draws was the idea that AI could be tasked with jobs dreaded by mere human laborers. Ideally, this would leave people with an increased ability to engage in activities they truly enjoy, such as the arts.

However, this could not be further from the truth. Developers have been quick to devise mechanisms for AI to be used in subjects ranging from script writing and image creation to singing and video content.

Creatives have already begun pushing back on this. The 2023 Writers Strike was strongly motivated by writers’ desire to not become obsolete to AI-generated scripts. Actors whose very likenesses were also being threatened protested as well.

Apps such as Dall-E can generate entire videos with nothing but a prompt. While this technology remains in its infancy, it will continue to grow.  Text generators such as ChatGPT are also fundamentally altering the way that students approach education.

AI does not only place risks on the balance of money and power, it threatens the very existence of creativity. There is value in the process of creation that AI entirely bypasses.

It is common to fantasize about how artificial intelligence will one day be indistinguishable from humans. It is rarely discussed how humans are choosing to devolve into something more artificial.  Humans are losing faith in their own ability to create.

The Future 

The negative impacts of Ai don’t necessarily mean the tool can’t be used for good. However, there must be tools in place to reign in the all-encompassing power of artificial intelligence.

States have been quick to discuss potential legislation for controlling technology. Some have suggested a universal basic income is necessary to curb the consequences of an artificial workforce.

Regardless of what is done, AI is a double-edged sword waiting to be tipped in either direction. If it is not met with appropriate accountability, it will swing the wrong way.

So far, artificial intelligence has failed to live up to its promises of leading us towards a better tomorrow, but the race is far from over.

What artificial intelligence needs is the right guidance and proper nurturing.

What are currently embers can be fanned into a flame that fuels the future, rather than burning it to the ground.

 

[email protected]

@timpa.chronicle

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About the Contributors
Matthew Timpa
Matthew Timpa, Opinion Writer
(he/him) Matthew is majoring in Marketing and minoring in Philosophy at the University of Utah, with a stressfully vague idea of what he wants to do career-wise. He's from Las Vegas, Nevada and enjoys playing volleyball, thrifting, and reading.
Kristofer Hoon
Kristofer Hoon, Designer
(he/him) Kristofer is a junior currently studying Graphic Design. He is extremely passionate about creating art and is very excited to create designs for the Chronicle. In his spare time, he loves to play bass and go to local punk shows.

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