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The Importance of AI in Modern Life

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Debater Slayer, Nov 28, 2021.

  1. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Veteran Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    May 8, 2011
    After reading through another thread about AI, I thought I would offer a more positive perspective on the potential, benefits, and current uses of AI in contrast to the view that it is entirely dangerous or something humanity should avoid using.

    The main reason I'm passionate about this subject is that my BSc is in computer science, and the field I have been focusing on so far in order to specialize in it is data science. It extensively employs AI for various tasks, purposes, and applications, many of which have immensely useful outcomes both for everyday life and fields like manufacturing and health care. I'm going to delve more into some of these different applications in this thread.

    I should point out before diving into the main topic that I agree that AI can indeed be dangerous if used for destructive purposes deliberately or if, for example, a software glitch or oversight causes unintended behavior. An example of the former is militarized applications such as autonomous drones—which have already been employed in military conflicts. An example of the latter is problematic behavior in some self-driving systems.

    However, my acknowledgement of AI's limitations and the need to be careful when using it doesn't mean I oppose its usage altogether or don't also believe that it has extremely beneficial uses. This is where the main topic comes in.

    • Perhaps the most germane application of AI nowadays in particular is in health care: as many here probably already know, AI can be used in diagnosis, prognosis, and even analysis of datasets containing millions of medical cases and imaging to learn how to more effectively treat patients and how to diagnose them as accurately as possible. This includes, for example, potentially analyzing millions of MRI scans to teach an algorithm to detect cancerous tumors with high accuracy, or learning from datasets containing millions of records of COVID patients to better identify early symptoms and prognosis.

    This doesn't just have the potential to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of diagnosis and treatment; it can also save lives by reducing the need for frontline healthcare workers to be in close contact with certain diseases, since robots can be trained to perform surgeries and carry out patient care with much greater precision than most humans can achieve. Such an application would be in stark contrast to the abovementioned military ones that employ AI to destroy human life; as you can see, there's a very different side to the AI coin.

    • Similarly to its medical applications, the precision of AI-powered machines can be—and is indeed—widely employed in industrial processes in ways that save time and effort in addition to providing great precision that only increases with time due to machine-learning technology. While there's a case to be made that AI could render many jobs redundant and cause problems as a result, something Bill Gates has even proposed a "robot tax" to mitigate, increasing manufacturing efficiency and capacity is a crucial benefit considering the increasing demand for many products, such as semiconductor chips that are now in a major shortage worldwide.

    • Finally—unfortunately, since I can't get into many more details about applications of AI without turning it into a small book—there's also autonomous driving: this is sometimes a double-edged sword due to issues such as the literally robotic and undiscerning adherence to rules I mentioned at the start of the post, but the other major facet of it is that it can also save lives due to its ability to almost instantaneously react to dangerous situations and activate multiple safety systems in ways that no human can within such a small window.

    Consider this (very short) video demonstrating the automatic braking system on Volvo tractor units, which may weigh over 50 tonnes (over 110,000 lbs) when pulling a loaded trailer:

    In cases where a driver doesn't manage to react in time, an automated driving system—including driving assists—can make the difference between life and death. The technology is not exclusive to Volvo either; this is just a particularly good demonstration of it given Volvo's extensive track record with leading-edge safety tech for vehicles.

    I hope this post proves useful to at least some people here, although I know it may be a bit overly long. Sorry about that; I tried to make it as short as I could without skipping out on the most important details.

    (Perhaps I should write a small book and link to it instead. :D)
    • Informative Informative x 5
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  2. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

    Aug 1, 2019
    tl;dr: Artificial intelligence is less dangerous than natural stupidity.
  3. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

    Sep 26, 2014
    Agnostic with a Theistic bent, toward some form of Dualism
    Well, how about a grid of ski-lift type vehicles, that were physically coupled to the road somehow. One problem is, our legacy vehicles are too separate from the road

    Well there are only two routes there, regarding issues related to the creation of artificial unemployment. The one is to insist everyone get a degree, and that only the 'smart' should work, which is basically what society is doing. You have a computer science degree, I don't. I will be left behind eventually, as computers will drive forklifts at some point, and they can already do half the stuff done by factory workers. This also evident by the fact that our largest cities are becoming giant homeless camps

    The other route is to simply pay and support humans based on what the robots are doing, and will do. If we were going to do that, we probably should have started doing that already. In that scenario, the robots do all the work in specialized areas, while the rest of the country becomes a park, where we can lounge around and reap the benefits.