September 14, 2018
As our knowledge surrounding the use of AI and its potentially unlimited capabilities increases, public fear and retaliation to this up and coming concept is at an all-time high. In recent years, as this subtly-implemented technology has grown, Artificial Intelligence has been nothing more than science fiction, a vague, futuristic phenomenon to the majority of the population. However the incoming British Science Association president, Professor Jim Al-Khalili, has now made it clear that AI has been slowly integrated into many parts of our daily lives for years, through the means of virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa and the ever-learning, enhanced awareness of Google, Facebook and Amazon. But could fear of the unknown be driving a wedge between the progression of innovative technology and the general public?
While we are beginning to hone in on the true benefits of Artificial Intelligence, Prof Khalili warns that, without complete transparency and openness, the full potential may never be realised, as being kept in the dark about such a new and diverse concept can do more harm than good. In order to properly integrate AI into the public eye, it is essential that it is done in a coordinated and organised manner, because without this thorough planning, it is likely that there could be a situation similar to the Genetic Modification backlash in the early days of the Millennium. Experts are adamant that we have hardly scratched the surface on the potential magnitude of this advanced technology and with such a precarious situation at hand and the possibility for this science to completely reshape society, it is now more important than ever that we have public engagement and the support of academics and government officials.
This applied science is so often misconstrued as a sinister attempt to ‘take over’, however what is missed in these assumptions is that Artificial Intelligence is currently doing nothing more than enhancing human creation. This allows scientists and tech experts to break out of a confined sphere of thinking and bring about new, exciting concepts and ideas that will further progress almost every industry in one way or another. As of this year, the UK is at the forefront of digital innovation and the development of this technology, which is set to bring in around £11.7 tn to the global economy by the year 2030.
Although it is evident that many parties are still on the fence about the rapidly advancing technology, there is also a substantial amount of people who are advocating to bring greater awareness and education to the matter. The groundwork for a major digital revolution has been laid, however it is now a matter of time to see if public speculation and fear will cause progression to grind to a halt .
In essence, the scientific information, research and technology is in place, however we need to ensure that as a population, we are ready to fully embrace the digital shift that comes with such innovation.
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