Artificial Limits: Evaluating AI’s Potential to Transform or Disrupt Human Life

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a new buzzword in high-tech industries, and top players there have been foretelling that AI will be smarter than us, transforming the world in a substantive manner that the human race could not have done without the help of those “magic wands” known as AI. Is this prognosis true or not? This discourse parses through this contemplation and offers caution that AI abracadabra will never come to pass.

Aligning every reader with this technological marvel is important, albeit in simplistic narratives. Some may not be familiar with AI technology, which has been around for some time. Still, recently, it has made some leaps and bounds, leaving high-tech players beginning to dream of the potentiality of this technology in shaping the quality of human life and beyond, for better and for worse.

Artificial technology gives man-made machines the ability to think and learn as humans do. It is about creating systems that can analyze vast amounts of structured data, describe data, recognize patterns, and make decisions based on that information. But artificial intelligence isn’t just about crunching the numbers or following algorithms. It is about understanding the human experience and using that understanding to solve problems and make our lives better or worse, where conflict of interest rules.

Read related: AI in Africa: Tanzania’s Tryst with Technology and Tradition.

Think about it this way: AI can do the same, just as humans learn from our experiences and adapt to new situations. They can take in information, process it, and then use that knowledge to tackle challenges in ways that traditional computer programs simply can’t. And the more structured data they have access to, the smarter and more capable they become.

However, AI is not an abstract concept or futuristic technology. It is already here, and it’s transforming industries across the board. From healthcare and finance to transportation and entertainment, artificial intelligence makes things faster, smarter, and more efficient. It is helping doctors diagnose diseases earlier, enabling self-driving cars to navigate city streets safely, and even composing music that tugs at our heartstrings. These are just a few AI examples of how this technology makes a difference.

AI has already shown great promise in predicting future events such as Tsunamis, Earthquakes, Ecological disasters, and weather, as well as in deciphering and setting complex passwords, among other things. Henceforth, the potentiality of AI should not in any way be underestimated. However, back to our original question: Can AI someday surpass human skill, intuition, empathy, and emotional intelligence? I am afraid that day will never happen; here is my reasoning.

AI will never surpass human intelligence for various reasons; I shall address a few.

Can a Pot Better the Potter?

This is the question proponents of AI can never honestly answer. AI will always be chasing human shadows but will never catch them. Think of AI as an advanced smartphone capable of doing many things for you, but that does not mean one day it will better you in any way.

True, AI will be able to run most of our contraptions. Expectations of the day pilotless planes whisking us to our favorite destinations are within striking distance, already, we have driverless cars in the market and auto-pilot planes envisaging a more deep role for AI is very realistic.

Current mishaps with driverless vehicles are treated as teething issues, which will fade away as humanity props up better AI. As time passes, technology improves, and AI will not disappoint. Drunk drivers or bad ones will be a thing of the past, save for malfunctioning AI, which will be many and recurring in the beginning.

AI is already simulating human voices and images in messaging apps with sometimes unpleasant consequences. Thieves deploying DEEP FAKE marshalled by AI have wiped out millions of dollars from Banks through identity theft that assumes the faces and voices of those in decision-making positions.

Also, read: Africa’s Struggle to Harness AI: The Urgent Need for Machine Learning Investment.

Substantial amounts of money were transferred to virtual accounts, and, in the twinkling of an eye, the accounts vanished without a trace, disappearing with the stolen bootleg. In other horrific circumstances, DEEP FAKE has raised the fear of stolen identity being used in pornographic materials without the consent of the victims. It is an area that many countries have woken up to craft laws that criminalize identity theft.

AI will fight the wars for us. The country with better tech than its nemesis will win, subduing the latter into total submission. AI will also fight the bad tech on our behalf. DEEP FAKE will meet DEEP TRUE, and whoever is better than the other will prevail.

What about the quality of our sex life? Human quest to refuse to be leashed by a partner will make AI an attractive alternative. Spouses who look and talk like us will be our bed partners, allowing us to do the things real people may not tolerate. For example, marathoners will have no trouble getting to a finishing line without being interjected with a complaining partner. We can imagine same-sex couples getting away with sex dolls, too.

As years pass, we should expect this tech to get better, fluffing fewer mistakes and, as a result, becoming very intrusive in our lives. But can AI have souls? Not, God forbids! AI must be a living entity to have souls, which it will never be. AI may be a sophisticated machine, but it is inhuman and incapable of feeling because it does not have a living heart. The living heart is the fountain and seat of all human emotions. Lacking it downgrades AI into a mere thing, not human, no matter how sophisticated it is

In the future, AI will be able to express fake emotions, and those who believe one day, man will challenge Our Maker’s creative wisdom may seek succour in human hypocrisy, lies, and acting to justify its behaviour. But the gospel truth says the tech is a machine, no matter how specialized and efficient it will be.

Some countries have begun preparing their countries with legislation to curb potential unethical use. The flipside of legislation will always lag behind the AI technological breakthroughs. Legislation will always be doing catch-up, and enforcement costs may render laws futile.

So, as much as we are excited about the opportunities that will be offered to the world, we cannot overlook the challenges that await in the future. And if there is anything useful we may gain, let us not commit an abomination and exalt this gadget beyond measure. It will be a very useful machine to solve our problems, but nothing else.

The earlier we understand this, the better for all of us: a machine will never better humanity but will always be in a slave-master relationship with humanity.

The author is a Development Administration specialist in Tanzania with over 30 years of practical experience, and has been penning down a number of articles in local printing and digital newspapers for some time now.

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