Should artificial intelligence be used as a tool to support or replace decision makers? After all, decision making relates to reasoning. Fifty-two million American jobs will be displaced or changed due to automation by 2030. While the changing nature of work causes some anxiety, the machines are just acting human, not actually human. And, while technology eliminates some jobs, it does not eliminate work.
Artificial intelligence can be used as a tool to support decision makers. But, technology empowered by artificial intelligence definitely does not eliminate the need for governance and ethics as it relates to the social good. Humans have the unique ability to create a vision and plan to achieve it. The strength of artificial intelligence lies in data processing, not in complex judgment and decision making. However, artificial intelligence is complementary to complex decision making. Organizations should be asking themselves how computers can support humans in solving complex problems? For example, AI for Good is an initiative that focuses on the United Nations platform sharing the beneficial use of artificial intelligence projects to solve some of society’s biggest challenges.
While the goals of some other artificial intelligence initiatives are to generate a software program that can solve complex problems and moderate itself with thoughts and emotions similar to human intelligence, it is important to understand the limitations of this scientific pursuit. There are many philosophical challenges in executing this intent from how to freedom is defined to how values are determined and understanding is measured. The challenge in pursuing these type of initiatives is in the programming. Artificially intelligent systems create their own rules upon existing rules and cannot deviate from them or make random decisions which in turn makes it difficult for the system to gain understanding similar to the human experience. Numerous studies have shown that free will influences mental processing and intelligence. In terms of artificial intelligence breakthroughs, although there have been some wins like in 2012 scenario when one of Google’s supercomputers scanned 10 million YouTube videos and learned to identify a cat with 75% accuracy, a four-year-old does that experience flawlessly, and it is not exactly tackling the issues of culture, vision or values as it relates to complex decision making. In summary, we are far cry from what you might believe from watching an episode of West World.
Humans have a history of adapting and thriving when new kinds of work have emerged in society so even defining the human experience is a changing goal post for any programmer to master. A simple walk through an art museum reflects how complicated the human perception of reality over time is to mimic let alone predict.
One of the challenges that artificial intelligence faces is that is it developing at a rate faster than some social systems which is why there is increasing interest in ethics and public policy as it relates to artificial intelligence. Also, some of the data input being used to drive machine learning programs is not reflective of the communities that the programs ultimately seek to serve. However, much of this issue is simply reflective of an age-old data quality issue in programming that poor data sources result in weak data outputs that in turn can lead to poor decision making. Bad data has been estimated to cost the United States $3 trillion per year.
One potential takeaway from this rapidly evolving digital economy is that a purpose driven life is uniquely human. And, the purpose each of us finds in terms of living a meaningful existence, comes from a complex understanding of where we’ve been and where we are going, along with some seemingly random but transformative events along the way. Regardless, those that embrace artificial intelligence to tackle problems with purpose are likely to create more impact than those that reject these innovative technologies.
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