AI Technology: Why It’s In

Technology has developed since the start of the industrial revolution, which has brought mass communication around the world. From the steam engine to the telephone wire, the United States and Europe have been the leading countries in technological developments. With new scientific research and a push toward new methods of production, AI technology is seen to rise as well.

AI technology, also known as artificial intelligence, has steadily been on the rise since the 1980s. With Pamela McCorduck believing that AI began with a ‘call to the gods,’ the start of AI technology came new conflicts that would arise from technological advancements. As modern devices have been deemed ‘un-useful’ toward future development, scientists have idealized a future full of robots.

That reality is soon to be true.

Studies between companies and scientists have brought a robot-reality into the 21st century – in fact, there are 33 types (and counting) of documented artificial intelligence that build off of and evolve from human activity. However, under President Trump’s new budget released in 2018, his decrease in funding for the Department of  Education, NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy show a digression of our technological advancements.

Ray Kurzweil, a computer scientist, has documented this in his recent book. He writes about the idea of an AI winter which may be detrimental in the development of new technology. An AI winter comes with a reduction of funding and interest in AI technology, which would ultimately hinder further development into important projects. With this in mind, despite the current political climate, scientists have rapidly begun funding and operations built to last the decade, and hopefully, bring light into our scientific world. How will AI technology pan out?

Even with these advancements made from different corporations, there is still a lot of risk with AI technology. Nick Bostrom, a physicist from Sweden, writes about existentialism and the idea of super intelligence. In an interview with spectrum.com, Bostrom highlights the harms of AI technology. Through his studies, he believes that the dangerous cultivation of new technology without caution will bring harm to humans themselves.

“If and when machines begin to surpass humans in general intelligence, the research would increasingly be done by machines. And as they got better, they would also get better at doing the research to make themselves even better.” -Nick Bostrom, 4 Dec 2014

This then falls back into the moral questions of developing AI technology. As many physicists, such as Michio Kaku and even Bostrom himself have questioned when the time comes for AI robots to take over, will humanity be able to withstand it? In an interview with Erika Strickland, Bostrom emphasizes the idea that there will only be two ways to prevent such a disaster: “The first is to control the AI’s capabilities, maybe by keeping it from connecting to the Internet… we should try instead to control the AI’s motivations.”

Even with his intensive research on existential crisis’ coming toward Earth, AI technology – as said by Bostrom himself – might also be a safe haven. Maybe through more developments, this positive insight of AI technology is necessary to bring change: “AI may be the biggest challenge our species has ever faced, it will also likely be our last challenge… If we crack the problem of how to create an AI that will look after us, it will take care of, well, everything else, forever.”

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Dana Chen is a teenager living in Orange County, California. She is very passionate about feminism, woman's rights, and gender equality. Dana is also the captain of her school's debate team and loves to debate, spend time with her family, and play the violin.

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