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Ms. Jeon

May 17, 2018

Ashwin Kumuthan

Artificial Intelligence: A New Era

Technology will last until the extinction of humanity, maybe even further. It, along

with society, is always evolving to better humanity, or so we say. The complete

symbiosis of technology into our lives, our bodies, and our minds may be our greatest

accomplishment, and our greatest error. Humanity’s reliance on technology will pose a

threat in the future, especially with the advancements in artificial intelligence.

Technology has always had its benefits, and with the introduction of Google

Duplex, we can also see how helpful artificial intelligence will be in our lives, but that

itself presents the obvious issues that come with its inevitable release. Duplex brought

forth the ability to allow AI to make phone calls to certain places for busy individuals

(“Did Google”). Google Duplex allows users to use Google Assistant to make

reservations and handle business without the aid of an actual person. In a few years, it

will be a seamless part of everyone’s lifestyle, as it will be integrated into all consumer

smartphones (“Google I/O”). As humans rely more on technology for social interaction,

social skills in real life will only continue to diminish. These AI assistants will soon be

talking to each other to handle conversations for their user, resulting in low social

interaction between real people.


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Most of the jobs that a ‘simple AI’ has the ability to do will cause the

unemployment of thousands, if not millions, of people. Duplex can soon take away jobs

from most secretaries, telemarketers, and call centres, as it will be able to recognize

people’s voice and speech patterns. It will be able to recognize their issues, use the

data available to them, and assist the client with the given problem. Herbert Simon, an

innovator in AI in 1965, once said, “machines will be capable, within 20 years, of doing

any work a man can do (Gaskin).” Infosys, a company in India, has the maintenance

and management of their data infrastructure fully automated (Subramanian). Even

more complex tasks, such as troubleshooting digital bugs in code, organizing service

requests, and solving newly created problems have been automated by 40%. A digital

agent created by IPsoft in 2014, named Amelia, is used by Swedish banks as a way for

clients to resolve issues (Subramanian). It can help the client with an issue in half the

time of a live agent, who also takes 96% more time to respond to the client than the

software. An IT research company known as HfS Research has also speculated that by

2021, 480 thousand jobs will be taken off the charts in India due to the increase in

automated services (Subramanian).

AI can also be used by the criminals in society, not just by those who want to

help improve it. They can use it to scam consumers and ordinary people into giving

information, or use AI to hack into people’s systems. AI can be used by scammers to

create realistic emails and messages that will reply and track the user’s behaviour.

Google Duplex shows that it can also create realistic phone calls that is intelligent

enough to acquire information from a person (“Google I/O”). Now imagine hearing the
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voice of someone close to you, and they require assistance to recover a lost password,

or financial information. You feed them information, unbeknown to you that it is not

actually that person, or a person at all (Markoff). The voice may be automatically

generated from media of that person online. Any information that they may know of you

would be obtained from social media, or other websites you are associated with, which

they have previously hacked. Any data they collect on or from you, they will in turn use

to access your banking, email, and social media to reach other people. This can all be

done by AI with a program in motion, with no supervision or involvement from an actual

person. Tracing or stopping such an attack would be extremely difficult, as the

intelligence will adapt and evolve to the counter-attack and modify itself to become

immune to said assault (Markoff).

Robots, and in turn AI, can accomplish and perform many tasks that humans can

not, such as hack into major political and corporational systems, in a relatively easy

manner. It can use deep learning and various algorithms to quickly hack into any

consumer, business, or military computers. It can be programmed to perform a variety

of risky tasks, such as send its own spam messages, create its own financial

transactions, and it can extend to launching nuclear missiles, with the click of a button.

One such black market software that allows non-technical criminals to perform technical

crimes is Blackshades. It allows criminals to eavesdrop on any digital device with one

click, and launch ransomware on unsuspecting victims (Markoff). This is only one of the

programs that only a portion of society is aware of. There are many other more

powerful forms of software and hardware that can accomplish far more dangerous
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tasks. One other that may be known by most citizens is a program called FakeApp,

which uses AI to superimpose a person’s facial features and overall look onto another

figure’s head. This method can be used to create a lot of fake news, or media to

persuade and confuse people into believing the material. They would trust it enough to

be persuaded into doing or believing life changing actions, especially if the person that

is being mimicked is a highly prestigious world leader. One popular event that

happened was the face-swap of Barack Obama, former president of the United States,

expressing very unflattering feelings about the current president, Donald Trump

(Bailey).

Artificial intelligence can be used in similar fashion not only by criminals, but by

governmental organizations as well. It can be programmed with malicious intentions

and destructive objectives by the military and government officials to be used in a war,

or national and global conflicts. Since 1980, many organizations have been focusing

their research on quantum computing and artificial intelligence to be used for military

applications. Google’s partnership with NASA has created the conception of D-Wave

2X, a quantum computer that is almost 100 million times faster than any machine in

today’s catalogue of devices (Basulto). With the studies in AI evolving to be more

prominent in our technological advances, these companies have found a way to merge

these two creations to solve many complex tasks. Some tasks are military divisions

automating their armada of vehicles, control air traffic, use AI for decryption of advanced

code, generating medical code for developing new drugs, and even optimizing the

trajectory of spacecraft for interstellar travel (Basulto). The Defense Advanced


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Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funds companies to build autonomous vehicles,

which will be reverse engineered to be used in military vehicles such as drones, tanks,

and other offensive and defensive modes of transportation and services (Gaskin). The

governments and elite organizations in this world will be fighting over this technology.

In recent years, there has been an increase in investments in the field of automated

weapons (Tetlow). The military is very encouraged by the abilities AI will give them,

stating that it “will represent a paradigm shift in the way wars are fought, with profound

consequences for international security and stability (Tetlow).” Whoever has this AI can

win whatever war they take part in. This targeted, weaponized AI system will also be

used as part of secret, undercover operations for the government, or by rogue, corrupt

world leaders who need an alternative option to nuclear and biological warfare, in order

to carry out their plans.

Just like any man-made inventions, there are bound to be errors or ill conceived

incidents that will cause unforeseen circumstances. The AI may malfunction or have an

error in its programming, that causes it to perform tasks it was not meant to, or cause a

domino effect of problems due to human error in its creation. One major example is the

popular incident of Tay, an AI dispatched onto Twitter by Microsoft to showcase their

machine learning progression (Cao). It was a chatbot that users could communicate

and interact with, to create an entity that will represent the collective personality of all

those users. It started off as a relatively positive system, however users decided to test

its limits. In under 24 hours, Tay evolved itself into a digital monster, making statements

about promoting genocide, stating feminism being equal to cancer, and supporting the
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Nazi movement. Microsoft took it down immediately, and have since not released such

a program again. AI can be easily manipulated and experience glitches, that will make

it go awry. Artificial intelligence may try to benefit us, however due to faulty

programming, the bias and personality of the creator, or its own intelligence

compromising its programming, the AI may go about a task with a very destructive

approach, or with a bias to only target certain individuals, harming any person or object

in its way. It can also start to develop its own personality. A philosopher known as Nick

Bostrom made a scenario that depicts what may happen if an artificial intelligence is left

on its own (Ford). He stated that if an AI is given a simple job, the AI will always come

up with different tasks and pathways to solve its given activity. It will force itself to

increase its intelligence to make sure that it is correct in what it is doing, or find a better

way to solve the issue. However, since its core programming is to solve the given task,

which in Bostrom’s scenario is making paper clips, it will do anything to complete this

task, and it will try to eliminate any doubt of its completion by eliminating other factors

permanently, or by changing elements in its surroundings to better suit its task. The AI

is becoming more independent and is almost sentient in nature. If, for example, a more

powerful intelligence was given the task to make the planet a more healthy, suitable

environment to live in, with less pollution and disturbances, then one radical way it may

solve that problem is to eliminate humans themselves. It will increase its intelligence by

gathering all the data at its disposal to decipher that all the problems in the world are

caused by humans, and by getting rid of the human factor, it will complete its task. If

this AI were to exist and was let loose, it would be catastrophic, as it will evolve to
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overcome any problems in order to solve its task, and in an extremely rare case,

possibly take over the Earth.

Humanity’s reliance on technology will pose a threat in the future, especially with

the advancements in artificial intelligence. Technology and AI have their benefits, but

with it, it also brings to light certain risks. Criminals and governments can use AI to

advance their own personal goals. The intelligence may also malfunction, or evolve in

an unrestricted or immoral environment, causing more peril than protection. While

technology has its benefits, and artificial intelligence may be the next step in our

evolution, it may also be the one step closer to our extinction.


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Works Cited

Bailey, John. "The New Face of Fake News."​ Sun Herald​, May 06, 2018, pp. 30​.

eLibrary​. Web. 17 May 2018.

Basulto, Dominic. "'Quantum Artificial Intelligence'."​ Charleston Gazette - Mail​, Dec 29,

2015​. eLibrary​. Web. 17 May 2018.

Cao, Jing, and Jing Cao. "Human Pranksters Get Better of AI Chat Bot; Microsoft Pulls

Tay After it Went Rogue."​ The Vancouver Sun​, Mar 25, 2016​. eLibrary​. Web. 17

May 2018.

“Did Google Assistant Pass the Turing Test? This Is How It Can Make Phone Calls on

Your Behalf.” ​Digit​, 9 May 2018. ​Computer Database​, Accessed 17 May 2018.

Ford, Paul. "Our Fear of Artificial Intelligence."​ Technology review​, vol. 118, no. 2, Mar,

2015, pp. 74-79​. eLibrary​. Web. 17 May 2018.

Gaskin, James E. "Whatever Happened to Artificial Intelligence?"​ Network World​, vol.

25, no. 25, Jun 23, 2008, pp. 30-32​. eLibrary​. Web. 17 May 2018.

“Google I/O 2018: Here's What You Didn't Know about Google Duplex and Assistant

Calling.” ​Digit​, 10 May 2018. ​Computer Database​, Accessed 17 May 2018.

Markoff, John, and John Markoff. "As Artificial Intelligence Evolves, so does its Criminal

Potential."​ The New York Times​, Oct 24, 2016​. eLibrary​. Web. 17 May 2018.

Subramanian, Samanth. “India Warily Eyes Al: Technology Outsourcing Has Been

India's Only Reliable Job Creator in the Past 30 Years. Now Artificial Intelligence
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Threatens to Wipe out Those Gains.” ​MIT Technology Review​, 2017, p. 38.

Business Collection​, Accessed 17 May 2018.

Tetlow, Gemma. "AI Arms Race Risks Spiralling Out of Control, Report Warns."

FT.com​,

Jan 12, 2017​. eLibrary​. Web. 17 May 2018.