Why We Need To Focus On The Positives Of AI – Forbes
AI is everybody’s pet bogeyman these days.
There’s a lot of apprehension about AI these days, and for good reason. Some of the talk is about predictions of automation and job loss. Some of it is about the possibility of AI consciousness. And some of it is just off-the-wall conspiracy theory stuff most of us would be best off to ignore altogether.
Many people tend to think of AI as purely an automation technology, but that just skims the surface of what these tools and techniques can do for us. While I do acknowledge that AI has some potential downsides—especially as it relates to ethics and misinformation—here, I’d like to focus on the many positives of AI. Because truly—for every negative associated with AI, there are multiple good things already improving the quality of business for companies, and the quality of life for humans, worldwide.
The key to understanding AI’s potential for good is to look at its contributions to our lives in three key areas: automating processes, augmenting human decision making, and providing greater sensor-fed awareness of environmental context in real time.
Benefits of AI-automated Processes
Here’s where I put in a good word for AI-facilitated automation. It has made the lives of employees in my company so much easier. They can pass off tedious, repetitive tasks and focus on things that really matter. From small things like creating a bit.ly for a blog article we’ve created, to larger things like email database management, we have programs powered by AI-automated processes that help us do all of that.
Some observers think that AI-automated processes are inherently biased, but that’s not true Most of know humans can be biased, which can create problems at work. We tend to want to hire people who are like us—who agree with us—who want the same things we do. However, we also know that diversity is what strengthens an organization. Differing opinions make ideas stronger. Differing viewpoints make products better. Using AI, companies are able to remove human bias from the hiring process—at least to a degree.
Yes, algorithms can be biased, as we’ve learned. But after some false starts, I think we’ll see some improvements in AI-based recruitment, especially in the area of. recruitment for diversity.
Benefits of AI-augmented human decision making
One of the most obvious positives of AI, to me, is the fact that it is empowering businesses everywhere to gain even deeper understanding about their customers. It’s allowing companies to meet their customers where they are—in the most literal sense—be it outside the movie theater, on their drive home from work, on their couch in the family room. And companies are able to offer their customers deals, products, and opportunities that truly matter to them. Yes, there is bad AI.
Yes, I do get personalized marketing that is “off.” But by and large, as AI quality and data processing improve, businesses will be able to do much more effective marketing, and customers will be able to receive only the marketing that actually pertains to them. Which is pretty awesome.
Plus from the consumer standpoint, isn’t it pretty great to get a discount for something you buy regularly? I think so!
Benefits of AI-enhanced awareness of environmental context
As the Internet of Things, smartphones, smart cameras, and the like come into our lives, AI is an essential tool for helping us stay aware of what’s going on in our surroundings, for predicting what might happen, and taking appropriate responses.
Making Life Safer
On almost every level, AI has the potential to make life safer for people. This is especially true in the area of dangerous jobs—such as military work, engineering and construction work, and policing. As robots are able to take a first-responder role in doing the jobs that people have had to risk their lives for thousands of years, we can all be grateful for the lives it saves. In addition to frontline work, AI is helping people train on jobs in a safer way—for instance, preparing for flight, space travel, and even performing medical procedures.
Outside of the work arena, AI is almost making it safer to live in our neighborhoods and communities. Smart cameras can be found all over cities throughout the world, helping alert law enforcement to potential hazards, and helping to identify suspects in certain cases.
Currently, those who live in rural area have far less access to quality healthcare. In fact, information from the Center for Disease Control shows 20 percent of Americans have no access to a doctor at all. One of the positives of AI is that it helps democratize healthcare by making remote and mobile health a reality. Using AI, doctors in distant cities can be notified in real-time on the health matters of their patients and give insights, advice, diagnoses, etc., to those who need them.
Aging in Place
Research shows most older people want to age in their own homes. And thanks to AI and other new technologies, that’s increasingly possible. Because AI can help remind those suffering from dementia to take their medications, eat their meals, and even find their TV remote, it’s offering new levels of independence to those who may traditionally had to live with friends or in assisted living communities. Other positives of AI include being able to remotely monitor our loved one’s health, arrange food and transportation, and even notify loved ones when the older person is walking and may be in danger of a fall. That type of freedom is priceless for aging people.
Coding for Disaster Response
You may have been following the annual Call for Code event, which allows developers around the world to gather together to build apps and new technologies to help with global disasters. Though it’s only been around a few years, some of its solutions are already being put to work, creating real-life answers to problems like finding victims following a disaster, accessing the Internet when most WiFI options would be inaccessible, and divvying up resources following an emergency. This isn’t just cool; it will literally save lives.
It’s important that we focus on the positives that AI can bring to our society. While the technology will require a tremendous amount of management in areas like policy, ethics, privacy and security, the potential of the technology to enhance our lives is significant and I’m excited to watch it become a bigger part of our lives with each passing day.