7 Ethical Concerns of Artificial Intelligence and Automation
Intelligent machines that can think like humans are transforming the world and changing how people do things. These ultra-smart systems enable fraud detection, follow instructions, optimize logistics, provide translations, compose written text, and more. Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation make specific processes more efficient, cost-effective, and productive in manufacturing, banking, retail, and healthcare. But at the same time, society faces potential issues because of the need for well-defined regulations.
For example, students who ask ChatGPT to answer their assignments can make mistakes, misinterpret questions, and provide the wrong resources. In contrast, hiring professionals like Studyfy’s essay writers with real people promises better outcomes because experts with certifications and experience can avoid errors. Another example on a more catastrophic level is data breaches in the field of healthcare.
This could adversely impact a patient who, instead of healing, becomes a victim of machine error. Although these innovative technologies help humans and show excellent promise, they also offer a potential for peril. And as new developments arise each day, it is also equally a new frontier for judgment, risk assessment, and ethics. Check out the seven ethical considerations that dampen the thought of a fully automated and AI-powered world.
1. Technical Safety Considerations
For every invention, there are unintended consequences. One of the significant ethical considerations of working with artificial intelligence is technical safety. Because even humans are imperfect, machines cannot work as promised and fail. If they fail, what could be the potential outcomes?
For example, several people have perished in semi-autonomous road accidents where their cars failed to make safe decisions. In this case, will the legal liability be imposed on the car manufacturer or the one making the AI software?
Moreover, there could be a strong possibility of machines turning against the people they are designed to serve. When devices become too clever, can they turn evil and do what they want instead of what they were programmed to do? These are major considerations because when people have grown dependent on machines and they malfunction, how will people survive without them?
2. Guarding Against Artificial Mistakes
Do AI and automated machines guard against artificial stupidity? Whether it’s a machine or a human being, intelligence can only be honed through learning. Even systems undergo a learning phase to memorize the correct patterns, which serve as the input for their behavior or outcome. When a machine has been fully trained and tested, it can be executed in the real world.
However, the training phase is not 100% fool-proof and cannot possibly execute all the potential hazards in the real world. Hence, unlike humans with discernment, machines can also malfunction and be fooled. Today, newer digital technologies are the prime source of data breaches, invasion of privacy, and false news, which could have devastating consequences.
For example, any student can now ask the software ChatGPT to do my physics homework like an essay. Consequently, this is an ethical issue because students may lose the chance to hone their writing skills and own up to their responsibilities by asking a machine to do it. Collaborating with a professional writer is better than a robot because someone can give writing tips and guidance.
Another example is people can change patterns and make machines comply. Hence, security and efficiency could be compromised with reliance on AI. Those who intend to use it must ensure these machines execute tasks as planned and are not overpowered by people with vested interests.
3. Keeping AI Safe Against Hackers With Ill Intent
Adversaries in the form of hackers and scammers abound, and they often target AI systems with high-tech programs and malware attacks. There’s a challenge involved in breaching powerful tech, and these people seem to find that aspect thrilling. Hence, there’s always a threat of too much reliance on AI.
At the same time, the more influential technology becomes, the more susceptible it is to people with ill intentions. For instance, robots and autonomous weapons can now replace real soldiers. People with malicious purposes can easily manipulate powerful AI tools for their nefarious goals. The question now is: how does the world ascertain that this advanced technology is always used for the common good?
AI systems can cause more extensive damage when used maliciously. Robots are much more capable than humans in some ways and are a lot faster. So the magnitude of their potential damage when not secure is horrific. Hence, it is critical to fortify cybersecurity, an ever-evolving field, since the technology it protects is also changing rapidly.
4. Potential Unemployment of Millions
Today, many companies have reverted to AI machinery instead of hiring manual laborers. This is especially evident in the manufacturing industry, where automated devices replaced laborers in the assembly line. Although there are upfront costs, machines can do the job faster and with minimal mistakes. There’s also less potential for workplace injuries or fatigue when machines do all the work, so it spells more profits and better output consistency.
To illustrate further, Tesla’s Elon Musk is talking about smart self-driving trucks to sustain supply chains with the promise of minimal accidents. When that happens, thousands of truckers will lose their jobs. The primary ethical consideration behind automation is what will happen to workers. When jobs are automated, human capital is neglected, with employees losing positions and their income. How will people sustain themselves and their loved ones with a dwindling labor force?
5. Inequality of Wealth Distribution;
By relying on AI and automation, companies drastically cut down on human labor and reduce hourly wages while boosting work performance since machines are indefatigable. However, this means the revenues created by devices for companies will go to fewer people. Consequently, only people who own shares in AI-driven companies will make tons of money.
And this is wrong because widening the gap between the rich and poor results in inequality. What are the adverse outcomes of income disparity?
- Loss of opportunities for many families.
- Less access to reliable medical care.
- Higher rates of social and health problems
- Poor satisfaction and happiness rates
- Lower rates of social good because of unhappiness
- A lower level of economic growth overall since people have minimal spending power
Sadly, there is a wealth gap or disparity between wealthy entrepreneurs and the middle/ lower class today. But imagine that becoming more expansive with only a select few enjoying the wealth. Machines will continue to perpetuate unequal wealth distribution, so structuring a fair economy is a primary ethical consideration for AI.
6. Addiction to Machines That Act as If They’re Human
Today, AI bots have become better at mimicking human conversation and relationships. This is evident in chatbots that provide customer service for companies or automated phone operators that answer toll-free numbers. Because these automatic replies have become better, people now find it more difficult to distinguish between real humans and bots.
Businesses like this because artificial channels provide unlimited efforts and attention in building relationships. In contrast, humans have a minimal attention span. Unfortunately, many individuals who rely on these things must know how machines trigger brain reward centers. That’s why video games and clickbait headlines have become highly addictive. Devices have the power to direct human attention and interaction, and it could also result in human dependency, which is highly dangerous and detrimental.
7. Dealing with The AI Bias and Racist Robots
High-tech systems are fast and capable of processing vast amounts of information far beyond what real humans can do. However, machines cannot be trusted to be neutral and objective. That’s because AI merges a computer program with data it has been furnished with, so there is always a risk of making the entire system prone to algorithmic bias.
The latter is a major AI concern, especially in areas like captioning photos or imposing punishments for crimes. To illustrate, AI with a camera can miss the mark on racially sensitive content, or software used to predict potential criminal activity exhibited a bias against people of color. These biases hurt people being wrongfully profiled.
Everyone must remember that AI systems are not infallible and are created by humans with their judgments and biases. When AI is used for social progress, it can catalyze positive changes. Still, when fed with incorrect inputs, the outcomes will be highly unreasonable and unfair.
Final Wrap Up
This is a partial list of the issues of ethics concerning AI. Since new technologies encompass many industries, other topics like the role of AI in politics and governance, AI-powered surveillance, or the role of bots in promoting misinformation should be explored.
Although many people hope that AI tech makes the world a better place by offering new possibilities that uplift people’s lives, ethical considerations must always be considered. Automation and using intelligent machines have vast potential, but human beings will always be responsible and held accountable for implementation.