VOL. 24 September ISSUE YEAR 2023

From Editor's Desk

in Vol. 24 - September Issue - Year 2023
Is AI of Your Concern?

Frankly speaking, up to the beginning of this year, I felt that artificial intelligence (AI) was something only relevant for nerds, computer freaks or fans of Star Wars, Star Track or similar Sci-Fi topics. My idea was always that in the worst case, all you need to do is to pull the plug of the computer. Until I learned that AI is also on the internet..., and this network has far too many plugs to pull.

Well, during the last month, I consumed many documentations, podcasts, articles, interviews, and whatever I could find about this topic. I not only realized that AI is a game changer that concerns simply all of us, but also I felt greatly intimidated by it on many different levels, even if it is just used in a “good” cause. Other than the robot revolution a few decades ago, where lower-level workers were replaced by machines, this time, it will hit the high education sectors. Programmers, tech jobs, journalists and legal industry jobs, the list is pretty long. Here are some examples where AI is already integrated: One leading national "short-news" newspaper has 85% of its content written by AI; an audio book publisher did lay off almost 90% of its staff since the books can now be offered basically with the AI voice of your choice. Talking about high profile jobs: In the new Netflix documentation "Unknown", it is shown how an AI pilot outguns a highly decorated fighter pilot in a way that can only be described as "very humiliating". And that is so far, please buckle up, the good side of it...

Looking at the dark side, many high profile personalities, including Elon Musk, warn that advanced AI is a danger to the public. Some even go so far and predict the extinction of the human race. But how could AI extinct the human race? Let’s just play that through for a moment. Assuming that an open-sourced AI at some point sees the human race as a threat, it could easy hack into the computers of energy supplies such as nuclear power plants, dam power plants or any other power plant. In the best case, AI only turns them off, while in the worst case, it may cause a radioactive melting in a nuclear power plant. AI could also turn off the financial sector, unable us to get or transfer money, and in addition, it could control all news on the Internet in a way it wants. Without power, money, supplies and real news, chaos and potential civil wars are just around the corner. After such explanations one hears often: "But why should AI do that?" There is no good answer for that. Who really knows? Maybe the best answer is given with the famous line of the mountain claimer Edmund Hilary after he conquered Mount Everest. "Why did you do that?", the journalist asked. His answer was only 4 words long: "Because it is there!"

Anyway, the most straight forward approach is to ask AI directly. To place a question to AI if it is a potential threat to human kind. In the meantime, this question has been asked many times in different variations. The answers given by AI are not always completely the same. But let me summarize and shorten the AI's answers as much as possible: "Yes..."

Andrzej Wojtas (Ph.D.)
Chief Editor of MFN, E-mail: andrzej@mfn.li