What I am afraid of AI – Fudong Chen

After finishing the introductory readings, there is a topic that impressed me, the evolution or the change of AI’s goals and aims.

AI has two main aims. One is technological: using computers to get useful things done. The other is scientific: using AI concepts and models to help answer questions about human beings and other living things. In my view, Alan Turing’s idea, Turing machines, belongs to the scientific one, though it was an abstract mathematical idea initially. So at least at the very beginning, AI was used to adapt and finish human beings’ goal and purpose. But throughout the history of AI, there are a large amount of people dread the AI since they are afraid that AI could be evolved to replace humans.

Actually, I am not afraid about this, since most of the AI now are still empirical and depend on statistics, namely they only have the ability to predict near future by the past data. But I do afraid the AI in some way, because I found a stereotype among the readings like a user can access data elsewhere or it’s an era of democratization of digital technology.

However, in the reality, algorithms and data have become assets of technology companies. Those who master big data seem to be more like AI that can predict the future. It is undeniable that business or commerce is usually expected to be used to provide private services to every single customers. Data allows companies to understand individuals better than individuals themselves, and the companies can even predict and show the interests and products to individuals that they do not know before. But what will the world become if this predict ability is used elsewhere? When the AI’s goals change, from helping people do useful things to using data to make money, which seems to be an inevitable result of commercialized, how do we do?

In addition, as a student without strong mathematic background, when I learn about machine learning, I found I just learn and use a black box. Data starts to drive the operation; it is not the programmers anymore but the data itself that defines what to do next. I just input data to get results, analyze the result and sometimes I even do not need to analyze it. I do not understand what happened in the black box. I would like to know what I can get with learning AI and machine learning,

Boden, M. A. (2016). AI: Its nature and future (First edition). Oxford University Press.

Ethem Alpaydin. (n.d.). Machine Learning.

Wooldridge, M. J. (2021). A brief history of artificial intelligence: What it is, where we are, and where we are going (First U.S. edition). Flatiron Books.