Page Banner

Artificial Intelligence — Once our Friend and now our Foe

By Chan Shi Yun, TIME

Published: 18 Mar 2019 - 07:02 AM

AI in the work place

AI in the work place

The COSTAR will discuss the issue of ‘Rise of Artificial Intelligence’, an alarming issue that concerns the new age of automation that has the power to outperform humans in the near future; and also the issue of ‘Autonomous Warfare’, an increasingly prominent issue that may result in ethical conflicts in times of warfare.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) was once a phenomenon restricted to sci-fi movies, but technology has finally caught up with imagination. Now, AI has become reality and amazingly, most people encounter some form of artificial intelligence in their everyday lives. In the 21st century, information has become the new oil, becoming increasingly valuable over the years. Look at it this way, artificial intelligence is an unstoppable vehicle, where data is the gasoline fuelling it. Just like how oil was the resource powering the last industrial revolution, data will be the resource powering this autonomous revolution in time to come. As such, the Rise of Artificial Intelligence has become extremely relevant to each and every individual as it has the power to go beyond human abilities with its fast-paced information-processing abilities. The use of AI has the potential to radically change the way the world operates.

In America, the American AI Initiative has been implemented by President Donald Trump to accelerate America’s global leadership in AI. Only if the American government is able to champion a data-centric approach to harnessing the power of AI, will the Initiative have the potential to elevate the technological scene into a new phase of automation in America. This Initiative will only truly succeed if it is built holistically, where computer science and automation are embraced as an integral part of the new age of technology and automation in America.

With the Rise of AI comes the fear of Autonomous Warfare whereby the future of war lies in the hands of autonomous weaponry. Autonomous weaponry and military robots are progressing from science fiction movies to engineering laboratories and to the battlefield. Gone are the days where men fought war. War will soon be a battle fought solely by autonomous weaponry, and autonomy will dominate the future of fighting machines. Autonomy is not intelligence but rather the freedom, whether of a human or machine, to perform an action. Therefore, the increased use in autonomous weaponry may bring forth ethnic conflicts of whether or not it is morally acceptable that the decision of life-and-death should be delegated to robots in times of warfare.

In the US, the Big Six programme was announced in October 2017 which looks to revamp and future-proof armour, artillery and general military defence. This programme will integrate key-enabling technologies and new capabilities in autonomous weaponry. This pronounces a new age of autonomy in America where the military will be dominated by the use of AI and AI’s military capabilities outdoes that of humans.

COSTAR therefore strives to optimise the use of technology in AI and Robotics to radically increase work productivity and greatly improve the lives of people, rather than negatively disrupt our way of life. However, the strength of AI is growing with every passing day and it may not only affect America, which is one of the leading countries in the field of AI, but also the rest of the world as well. Therefore, the issue of ‘Rise of Artificial Intelligence’ and ‘Autonomous Warfare’ are both extremely relevant and alarming issues in our society now that COSTAR seeks to tackle.