From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to Karel Čapek’s Rossum’s Universal Robots to the Terminator series and beyond, science fiction has historically cautioned scientists and general audiences alike against allowing artificial intelligence to outpace ethical responsibility.
That said, while caution, ethics, and responsibility are all key components to the scientific story, we should not overlook the myriad ways in which science in general and AI, in particular, can make our lives better. With that in mind, let’s look at four social benefits of AI that are within our reach.
Given the fiery nature of the debate over the issue, anything “smart” relating to healthcare can’t come too soon. With smart healthcare, patients and healthcare providers alike could have a far easier job finding treatments, comparing costs, and making the whole process that much more efficient. That boost in efficiency is sorely needed, as inefficient management is one of the key money and time-wasters in our current system. AI-powered smart healthcare has the potential to make accessing healthcare easier and more affordable—two qualities everyone can agree it sorely lacks.
Self-driving cars have been a dream of tech-minded people for decades, and with companies like Google and Yandex building self-driving prototypes, that dream seems tantalizingly close to becoming a reality. 5G technology can help improve the connection speed of AI-driven cars, helping them navigate and communicate with guidance systems at the speed necessary to avoid accidents.
This is another AI-powered concept that is beginning to come to fruition. Smart speaker systems such as Alexa and Google Home already help us plan dates, play music, place orders, raise or lower the lighting or temperature in a room, and accomplish any number of other household tasks. Imagine how much “smarter” these smart home systems could be in a few years.
All of these smart features point towards a bigger, bolder, more AI-assisted future with smart cities. Traffic lights, Wi-Fi centers, and other elements of city life could be handled by smart systems capable of responding to commands and taking some of the human error out of modern life.
For as much as we wish to remove human error, however, we must always remember not to remove the human factor entirely. The balance between artificial and human intelligence is the question of the present and the key to our future.