Artificial intelligence in the future – should we be hopeful or worried?


Welcome to 2018 where we still don’t have flying cars, jet packs or colonies on the moon and Mars. With artificial intelligence in every facet of our lives from our smart phones to the GPS in our cars, is there cause for concern or should we be hopeful?

“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” -Stephen Hawking

Hey Bon Jovi! Do We Really Want to Live Forever?

From an early age, I have always been interested in science fiction. The future sometimes can be everything we want it to be and more. Or it can be some dystopian nightmare like I Am Legend where we can’t wander outside at night because we may be attacked by vampires.

There are so many medical advancements that are being made such as research into nanobots which could aid in preventing strokes and heart attacks. However, the more biological problems we solve, the longer our life expectancy. While that seems appealing, is it really?

In Smithsonian magazine, author Ray Kurzweil had this to say on the idea of immortality, “It’s something I’ve always found depressing, but I wouldn’t mind having several lives packed into one. And that seems reachable.” With every blessing there is a curse.

What would happen if everyone just started living longer? Overpopulation could become a very real nightmare threatening our all important natural resources. This is a very serious consideration.

The quest for improving our quality of life would lead to breakthroughs in genetic research. At present, we can map the human genome but imagine if we could actually manipulate DNA on a regular basis? Would this give rise to a futuristic Victor Frankenstein?

Imagine if we could create the next Sir Isaac Newton or Beethoven. This ability might produce a Gattaca situation where people with “inferior” genes would be in a lower class than those who would be genetically manipulated to perfection.

AI Is the New E-Harmony

Here is a very frightening notion. Currently, we have the right to pick and choose our mates. Even aided by the algorithms of sites such as, E-Harmony and Tinder you retain the right to say not interested or swipe right or left.

What if AI assisted us in the pursuit of finding our soulmates or significant others? According to Bart Selman, a computer science professor at Cornell University, this matchmaking machine much like a friend or overly concerned mother could be “Something like Alexa, but a version that accumulates knowledge about you day after day.”

Yikes! I am not too sure that I want Alexa knowing everything about me. How creepy would that be? I imagine I might have a relationship with her similar to Dave Bowman with HAL-9000 in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001.

Smithsonian magazine also envisions that these AI entities could also start divorce proceedings based on predictions. This is also terrifying. When a machine starts deciding my life for me, am I truly an independent being?

Is Resistance Really Futile?

I love technology. In my every day life, I am a big fan. From my smartphone where I do quite a bit of work to my laptop, to my Galaxy Tab, well, you get the picture. I am far from a Luddite.

However, since AI will be trained to learn at a faster pace than humans will we become obsolete? It isn’t unreasonable to suggest that the machines can perform tasks more efficiently. With all this new-found knowledge, could AI rise up like Terminator?

Will there be an eventual war against the machines? Could we take them on? Neil deGrasse Tyson scoffed at the notion of robots taking over the planet because “If I built the thing; I can unbuild the thing.”

Elon Musk has a different mindset. “I keep sounding the alarm bell but until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal.”

Well, Elon. I might take a page from the ancient philosopher, Ashley Joanna Williams. If I see AI with an agenda on a rampage decimating everything and everyone in sight, guess what? I am definitely going to “Shoot first, think never.”

What are your thoughts on AI? Do you agree with Elon or Neil? Feel free to share your opinions in the comment section below. We want to hear from you.

Next: Phoenix UFO Sighting – This isn’t a Google balloon…

Susan Leighton can be found on Twitter and Facebook @SusanontheLedge. She can also be heard talking up Ash vs Evil Dead every Monday night on the Nerdrotics Podcast at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT as well as their Pop Culture Wrap Ups every Friday night at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.