This is the right time to revisit a topic that is on the world’s lips: artificial intelligence (AI).
Surely, you’ve wondered what AI is exactly, what it’s for and what benefits and challenges it presents? Or, if you’re already in the know, you’ve been wondering what will happen in the future if AI continues to evolve unabated…
If so, read on, because this time we’re going to try to simplify this subject in a simple, relaxed way that’s accessible to everyone.
Let’s start at the beginning—what is AI and what is it for?
It’s called artificial intelligence (AI) because it has the ability to do things that are typical of human intelligence, such as reasoning, learning, creativity and planning. AI is a technology that allows machines and computerized systems to perform tasks that would normally require human intervention, such as recognizing images, understanding natural language, playing chess, composing music and much more.
This is possible because AI uses algorithms that learn from the data fed to it by people and from experiences, so it can adapt to new situations and objectives.
AI serves many purposes, all of them human! It mainly serves to improve our lives and solve our problems.
It can help us in many areas, such as education, health, entertainment, business, security and the environment.
Benefits of AI for humanity
AI offers obvious benefits such as increasing efficiency and quality by performing tasks faster than humans in some cases, saving time, money and resources. 🦸♀️
But there are less obvious advantages such as helping us to expand our capabilities, and even creativity, since being able to perform humanly impossible tasks expands our possibilities and inspires new ideas. Or, for example, contributing positively to more efficient decision-making, by providing relevant and reliable information that will help us make much more informed decisions.
Let’s look at some more examples of how AI can help people today:
🦾 improve our learning by offering personalized courses, interactive tutorials and instant feedback. For example, students can use an AI app to learn a new language, like Duolingo, or to practice math, like Photomath;
🦾 improve our health by assisting healthcare professionals in diagnosing and treating diseases, monitoring vital signs and warning of possible risks. For example, patients can use an AI app to measure blood glucose levels, such as GlucoSentry, or to detect signs of skin cancer, such as SkinVision;
🦾 enhance our entertainment by creating original and entertaining content, such as movies, music, games and even art. For example, you can use an AI app to generate customized music, like Amper Music, or to create an image that you imagine in your head, like the cover photo that illustrates this blog post, created with Canva’s AI feature;
🦾 help businesses by optimizing processes, reducing costs, increasing profits and better satisfying customers. For example, you can use an AI app to manage stocks, like TradeGecko, or use chatbots that are much smarter than in the past to serve customers, like our friend Bing, who has provided us with the examples of conversations with AI that we normally share with you in our infographics;
🦾 improve our safety by preventing crime, accidents and natural disasters. For example, security forces can use an app to recognize suspicious faces on a security camera, and geologists can use an app to alert us to earthquakes in real time;
🦾 preserving the environment, protecting biodiversity, fighting climate change and promoting sustainability. For example, we can use an AI application to identify animal species in photos, or to calculate our carbon footprint individually or as a company.
And what are the challenges of AI? Where is it heading?
Obviously, it’s not all roses in this wave of technological progress. AI also has a potentially darker side and definitely presents some challenges for humanity. 🦹
Some of the main problems are:
- Job displacement: AI may replace some human jobs that are repetitive, or dangerous, or those that require little creativity and, in some cases, this will generate unemployment, which will inevitably lead to inequality and dissatisfaction.
- Ethical questions about bias and privacy: it can reflect or amplify the human prejudices that are present in the data or algorithms that are fed into AI. In some cases, this could lead to discrimination, injustice and potential human rights violations. In addition, AI can collect and use users’ personal data without their consent or—even worse—without their knowledge, which could compromise their safety and perhaps even, in a worst-case scenario, their dignity and freedom.
- Security risks arising from hacking: AI apps and systems can be the target or tool of cyberattacks capable of causing physical, financial or emotional harm to people or organizations. For example, it’s possible that malicious people could use AI techniques to create false or misleading content, such as deepfake videos or fake news. In a slightly more futuristic and hypothetical scenario—or perhaps not—hackers could break into AI systems that eventually control autonomous vehicles, power grids or military weaponry.
So, how can we use AI in a positive way?
Faced with so many promising benefits, but also some very disturbing challenges, it’s up to us, human beings, to use it in a positive way. Not least because at the moment, AI is still a tool entirely at our service, with no conscience and no will of its own!
Here are some tips for the conscious and positive use of AI:
👾 Prepare yourself for the new opportunities and challenges created by the evolution of AI: learn new skills, adapt to change and look for jobs that involve more human interaction, emotion and innovation.
👾 Use and promote the use of AI in a 100% ethical, transparent and responsible way: respecting society’s values and norms, verifying the origin and quality of data, and protecting your personal data and that of others.
Protect your security and that of others: educate yourself on how to identify and avoid cyber threats and use robust and reliable security measures to protect your systems.
We’ve seen how AI can bring countless benefits to humanity and how it can make our lives easier. It definitely wasn’t created with the intention of making people obsolete, but to help them.
However, it’s true that AI also has limitations and risks that must be considered and managed carefully.
These technologies are a powerful tool with incredible potential, but the good they will do also depends a lot on how people use them and how those in authority regulate them.
Do you think you’ve learned something new about AI? What do you think about this topic? Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment below. Your feedback is welcome! 😊
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