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Ethical issues in intelligent technologies

Ethical issues in intelligent technologies

Intelligent technologies are improving the way we live. As technology becomes more capable, our world becomes more productive. But despite the improvement to our lives, tech giants as IBM, Amazon or Microsoft, as well as geniuses like Stephen Hawking, believe that now is the time to talk about the future of intelligent technologies and how are they affecting the world. These concerns are ethical issues but a lens into the future risks. So, What are these people so worried about?

Job loss?

The labor industry is mostly concerned with automation. As we evolve and create different ways of automating jobs, we could also create in the future more room for people with complex roles, moving from the manual and physical work, which characterized the preindustrial period, to cognitive labor that is suitable for our new society.

The auto industry for example is currently supporting millions of employees globally. Will those people keep their jobs if self-driving cars and trucks become widely available and affordable? Possibly, but we still need to take into consideration the lower risk of accidents. So, in the end, self-driving cars seem like the right kind of ethical decision.

Technologic richness

Our economic system is mostly based on compensation and contributions, usually evaluated using by wages. The majority of organizations are still counting on hourly work when it comes to services and products. But using intelligent technologies might drastically cut down the human workforce needed while the people who own AI companies will be extremely wealthy.

We are already experiencing a wealth gap, where young start-up owners and founders go home with a large part of the economic surplus they created. What would a society of massive unemployment look like?

Is our behavior changing?

Did you know that a bot has won the Turing Challenge? Chatbot Eugene Goostman succeeded for the first time, being able to fool more than half of the humans involved in what they thought was chatting with a person not a machine. This is only the start of an age where we will interact more frequently with machines as if they were humans. People have some limitations when it comes to attention and kindness, AI technologies have unlimited resources to build relationships and never get tired.

Controlling the intelligent technologies

As humans, we can control almost everything because we built everything around us and are currently the top of the food chain. That raises a serious question about AI bots: will they be able to have the same advantages over us? May the machine anticipate our next move and defend themselves? This situation is called in ethics `singularity` and refers to the fact that people will not be the most intelligent beings on earth.

Robot rights (yes, we also have that)

As we develop technology, we need to understand the mechanism of reward and aversion, which is used for humans and also animals. For robots, these systems are partially superficial, but they are becoming more sophisticated. In this situation, could the machine suffer when it is rewarded with negative input? There are some genetic algorithms where they create multiple instances of a system at once, but only the most successful survive, the rest are deleted.

The end goal is a better life for us but we need to keep a close eye on AI evolution.

Are there any concerns that cross your mind? Let me know in the comments section.

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