Recent announcements about Q* highlight the rapid, exponential development of AI. The sheer rate of change is astonishing and is catching most people out. Make no mistake this is already revolutionising aspects of your life.
For instance totally realistic videos of anything you want can be created rapidly, faces swapped on existing vids, anything. What ever story you want to tell, whether real or false, can be illustrated with 100% believable made up video. This is really great for creativity, allowing people to make amazing films without big budgets and long production times. But it is also extraordinarily bad for social justice and the spread of misinformation. False accusations can be ‘backed up’ with convincing made up video. Now with reatime face swap systems you could even doctor live feeds from CCTV and smart door bells. This is technology that exists right now, not some far of possibility.
With the amazing power of AI huge advancements are being made in medicine, cures for cancer are a real possibility within our lifetimes. But the flip side of that is there is also the potential to make unstoppable bioweapons or things targeted at certain biological groups, bio-genocide for example.
In my sector we can see how genuine autonomous systems can radically improve safety and efficiency, avoiding crashes and smoothing traffic flow, this is true of cars, trucks, trains and planes, speeding up airports etc. But with networked integrated travel our movements can be controlled and with no real way of having a manual override when it inevitably has a glitch everything we rely on could potentially stop.
AI can radically improve manufacturing, food production and education, it can assist us and make us more capable. But it can, and will, replace many jobs entirely, from your local GP to aircraft pilots. This is far bigger than the industrial revolution. Every single job in the service sector can be replaced by AI in one form or another. In fact I can’t think of any existing job that can’t be done better with a combination of machine and AI. And at the moment this transition is only being controlled by the chaos and short term view of market forces.
AI is a tool, and like any tool we need to know how to use it safely and put in place systems to prevent misuse. The same principle applies to all powerful tools, from hammers and chainsaws to cars and nuclear power.
The big difference is that AI is more powerful than any other tool mankind has ever made.
This needs a proper grown up conversation urgently.