Our AI Future & What Might Happen Next
Given proper data, AI has proven time and time again that it can produce a very accurate analysis of a particular context and recommend a viable course of action.
For example, in the medical field it can diagnose cancer with an accuracy of 99.4% just by sifting through thousands of images of pathologies and by comparing them with a specific patient's images. It accomplishes this task in milliseconds.
The recommendations provided by AI help Oncologists shorten the time it takes to start treatment and ultimately, it saves lives.
Cause and Effect
Because AI is so powerful in delivering accurate, fast results, it challenges status quo. It provokes changes at a pace never experienced before.
Progressive startups and established institutions alike adopt AI at a fast pace but established institutions might end up struggling with the results because, in some cases, it threatens their livelihood.
For example, In the last 20 years, AI helped Climate Scientists prove that the Fossil Fuel industry was responsible for "two-thirds of humanity's emissions of greenhouse gases", phys.org, 2017 a gas that traps heat and threatens our way of life.
AI results can create problems for the offending entities who will see the results as an attack and in turn will resort to schemes to repress or compromise the evidence. In the long run, events usually prove that research was right forcing a change. AI, free speech and Internet access are the perfect tools to prevent offending entities from repressing the evidence. They accelerates best practices adoption.
Just like Darwin suggested in his book The Origin Of Species, "survival of the fittest prevails in the long run". Adaptation being key to their survival, the refusal to act on evidence based data only makes it worse in the long run. It is akin to, like an ostrich, putting your head in the sand to avoid a treat. It does not solve the problems and you might lose precious time in the process.
Changes are coming
Because we were misinformed for so long, there will be a lot of work needed to right the wrongs created along the way.
In light of compelling evidence we will be forced to quickly evolve. Change our habits, our Laws, our Education system, our approach to Healthcare, and even our values.
At the Government level, if AI is given the goal to improve the lives of its citizens, AI might tell us to spend more on Healthcare and Education and less on the Military, not a popular thought amongst conservative circles. It might figure out that some ingredients are responsible for obesity and that the costs benefits of having a diabetic on Medicare is probably not the wisest investment. It might propose a change in regulation to force an industry to change its practices to reduce a perceived treat.
Expect that changes will come at a rapid pace. Be prepared to hear that some of our laws will need to change, that some industries need serious overhaul and that other priorities need to be promoted.
For example, in the United States, we promote the purchase of lethal semi-automatic weapons or let our citizen carry guns in public based on the Second Amendment of the Constitution which states that "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
This law was written by our forefathers in 1779 in the context of the Revolutionary War where rural Militias were the backbone of the country's survival. This Amendment stayed with us for 238 years even though the country does not rely on rural Militias for its security anymore. If was never challenged until mass killings and terrorists attacks started happening.
If AI was to looks at data on the subject, it might reveal that this law is responsible for countless preventable deaths. According to the New York Times, it is "killing about as many people as car crashes (not counting van, truck, motorcycle or bus accidents)".
When comparing US death data with to other countries AI could quickly find that the United States is an outlier and that the country would benefit from adopting an Amendment to its Constitution, to the chagrin of our gun industry.
Given the undeniable benefits associated with evidence based science, our laws are about to be challenged in ways that scare CEOs of large industries and Governments officials. Because citizens and decision makers using AI are now getting a more accurate picture of their context, they can challenge the status quo with confidence. Since change is hard, many are trying to delay the inevitable.
On a global scale, this means that many walls are about to fall. It means a tumultuous time ahead as the battle against falsehood, lies and rampant corruption start picking up steam. It means a time filled with challenges and opportunities at a scale never experienced before. However and most importantly, it means that there are good chances that AI will help us build a better world. A world where decision making is made based on evidence and scientific results.