PEOPLE ARE WORRIED about robots taking over the world, like they have been fantasized to do in various Hollywood films over the years. Even Professor Stephen Hawking said that AI could lead to the end of the human race. (When AI reaches full intelligence.) Does that mean we should throw away this idea of artificial intelligence? No, absolutely not.
“Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded” -Stephen Hawking
AI has already impacted human life in a positive way, that much is obvious. Technology itself is made to better human life, to create a certain convenience for people. As AI evolves we will be in control over it (for now), during that time we will see and begin to fully understand the powerful things AI can do and solve for us.
From BBC: Professor Hawking says the primitive forms of artificial intelligence developed so far have already proved very useful, but he fears the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans.
The fear of AI is real, being afraid of new technology is often times a popular response. But often times, it is not the right one. We should be embracing new technology, when it pushes us forward and betters our lives. Here is how I (and many other researchers, see sources*) see AI impacting two major industries as it eats the world.
AI Eats Healthcare
The medical field is something I believe AI will have a massive affect on, even over take surgeons and doctors (far in the future) pushing them into a more personal driven role, handling the human side of their patients. But for now we will see (and are seeing) AI powered robots assist human doctors, learn, and even understand human emotions as they are doing it.
A staggering 40,500 American patients die annually because they were misdiagnosed by human doctors, that is a lot of preventable deaths that can be solved by the proper AI in place. With nearly 10,000 (known) human diseases, how could we ever expect a person to remember each of them, along with all of their individual symptoms and causes? We can’t.
Computers are much better at remembering data and information than we are. That’s why they have huge potential to assist in providing fast and accurate diagnoses. Right now there are studies being conducted by MIT, showing us that it is possible to create artificial neural networks that can in fact accurately diagnose human illnesses, including some cancers.
We are still in the learning phases of AI, but even so we already have an autonomous robot surgeon that has bested a human surgeon, though the robot needed some human help at some points, it still shows the potential of robots and humans working together as AI evolves. The potential for no human caused errors can greatly lower the risks and deaths in medical care, maybe, one day, even eliminate it.
Artificial intelligence is allowing doctors to treat health conditions unfamiliar to them. Doctors can log into Modernizing Medicine, a web-based repository of medical information and insights to access data on new medications, treatments for rare disorders and other clinical challenges. Daniela Hernandez with the Kaiser Health News, says, “Using the same kind of artificial intelligence that underpins some of the web’s largest sites, this system instantly mines this data and spits out recommendations.” This is particularly useful to community and rural physicians who do not have access to medical libraries, medical schools, etc. and provides quality care to patients in more remote areas.
We also know that as a technology advances, it becomes more accurate and more user-friendly. New applications of interest to healthcare professionals include instant translation from one language to another via a smartphone and the use of conversational agent technology to educate, coach and monitor patients.
A British start-up firm, Babylon Health, has designed a smartphone app that acts like a triage nurse, asking a series of questions to advise users whether their health problem is noting to worry about or requires immediate attention.
Steve Hamblin, head of Babylon’s artificial intelligence team, said, “As for replacing doctors, that’s not our goal. . . I’m in the business of giving them a boost.”
— Marlene M. von Friederichs-Fitzwater, MA, Ph.D., MPH, retired professor, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine and Founder/Director, The Health Communication Research Institute, Inc.
AI Eats Therapy
AI can greatly help humans in therapy. Movies like Big Hero 6 with a big, fluffy, adorable, and even loving robot named Bay-Max, helps a young boy achieve big things, shows us a small example of how therapeutic robotics can help people. Depression, Alzheimer’s, and many more mental health diseases and disabilities treatment could be transformed.
Perhaps the most notable part about AI in therapy, is that it will be able tocut through the small talk and nervousness affiliated with talking to a human. Using evidence based and effective treatments to care for patients with a wide variety of psychological disorders, AI will be able to build a complex profile of each patient.
Using neural networks and machine learning while synced to a clinical database it can effectively recommend treatment strategies to the actual doctor. From there the doctor can decide what route to take based on the interface-able profile, and AI recommendations. Robots will be far more capable of diagnosing and providing the best care plans than humans.
AI Eats The Health Economy
Using these robots in medicine can greatly lower the cost of healthcare and bills that have so substantially entered and effected so many peoples lives in the modern era.
Studies by the IU School of Informatics and Computing researchers Casey Bennett and Kris Hauser have found that AI could potentially cut the cost of healthcare by 50% while also improving the patient’s outcomes by the same amount.
This will happen in a variety of ways combined, for one the patient’s quality of care, providing more accurate diagnosis much faster than a human could do. As I mentioned earlier, there are over ten thousand known human diseases, we cannot expect a human brain to remember all of the symptoms and cause/affects of each.
Cutting down the cost of finding what exactly is wrong with a patient has already shown to be much more cost effective using AI vs humans in the same study by Bennett and Hauser. they found that their AI’s model cost was $198 while the human’s model cost $497 using standardized methods used today.
Health record databases are a key component for AIs success in the medical field, as the machines could use this data to understand the patient and possible treatments. Using all of the knowledge in our doctors brains, stored in an accessible digital catalog would make these faster approaches happen when combined with powerful AI algorithms.
Robots in the medical field have so many clear positive aspects that it is challenging to see why we wouldn’t want to enact these changes. That is until you see a robot holding a gun.
In warfare we have seen Drones begin to eliminate risk of soldiers flying in to bomb enemies, providing surveillance and firing capabilities without putting a man in the line of fire. The U.S. Military (and Google) is already funding programs to create AI robots that are self aware in the battlefield. This creates the unnerving question of…
How do the robots decide when to kill?
Now, when we create robots that are capable of killing people, that is scary. That is why it is so essential for us to study and learn everything we can about AI and ML and figure out how we can avoid the risks rather than give up on the idea because of our fears. AI has the potential to change the world, if done right.
Ideally, we would want the AI to think like a human when making a decision such as taking a life, are there civilians in the area? Children? And thankfully there are teams working on this idea. This is also something we need to spend time thinking about as we build powerful killing and autonomous robots.
AI Eats Combat
When we give a robot a gun (or any machine that can kill, such as a self driving car), we are then challenged with who is responsible for the deaths caused by it. What if an AI military bot kills a civilian? Who takes the blame? The person who created it? The robot? The person who ordered it to activate it’s AI? Hard for me to say, that is a question that needs to be talked about as a people. It is an essential and healthy conversation that needs to be had now, while we are still developing these technologies. Rather than later, when the tech is already implemented on the road or in the battlefield.
Recently, in Dallas, Texas we saw police officers use a $10,000 robot armed with a bomb to kill an armed suspect threatening police in a parking garage after killing multiple police officers and wounding others. This is an example of how law enforcement and military can and are taking advantage of robotics and AI.
Hopefully, in the future we can develop AI infused robots that can apprehend suspects instead of just killing them. Perhaps, the AI sees a suspect running and knows the best way to stop him without lethal force, therefor saving more lives and protecting police officers from a dangerous, armed suspect.
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” -Abraham Lincoln
The risks that can be created by AI are substantial, but we cannot allow fear of risk to stop us from creating a better future. The risks were high when we sent a man to the moon, but we did it. To succeed, we must research and implement safety in AI as it becomes a killing capable force. But for now, just enjoy great light AI such as Alexa and Prisma.
In conclusion, the important take away that I hope you receive from this article, is this:
Over the next few years we will see the essential building blocks that move us toward a much more capable AI. We won’t reach the type of AI I discussed here this year, maybe even this decade. But it is a promising thesis that has massive potential to change the world for the better, if we do it right and have the want (we clearly have the need) to make it happen.
AI and robots will be human’s right hand man in the medical field and even in the military, not actually completely taking over the fields. (The same is true in many industries and workplaces.) At least for now.
Finally, we cannot allow AI to evolve too quickly, we must take the time to do it correctly and with all of the necessary precautions. It comes down to our ethical standards, giving robots moral decisions needs to be addressed in a fail-safe manor. Because the threat of not doing so, may end the human race, and that is risk too substantial to be taken lightly.
“The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.” -Barack Obama
Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert in AI, I have stated my opinions based off of my independent research. Sources & further learning into AI: