“AI should maximize the freedom of action for humans.”
This popular quote from Elon Musk sounds great, but what does it mean? Essentially, it means that the greatest thing humans can invent for themselves is increased freedom. Technology should maximize our benefits, not detract from them.
For example, as technology advances, it is more likely that robots, software, or sensors will be able to automate laborious, tedious work for us. Automating manual labor such as warehouse work, agricultural work, assembly line work, or cash register positions would increase the freedom of choice for workers.
No longer would people have to spend arduous hours lifting packages or performing repetitive tasks. Instead, they would have the opportunity to fill more creative positions or work in technical fields created because of this technology, such as data analysts or software developers. As a result, this could dramatically improve human health, quality of life, and human work-life balance for many.
Without a doubt, robotics and machine learning technologies will continue to reduce human workloads inside and outside factories in assembly and packaging tasks all the way to customer service. This inevitably stokes the fear that robots will steal our jobs. But we may also see the rise of humans working alongside robots rather than being fully replaced be them.
In addition to job fears, there are the privacy concerns of being “watched” and there is unease about the erosion of free will. What are your thoughts? How do you feel about this? Are we so blindsided by worry that we are unable to see the possibilities that this technology could offer us? How do you think automation could change the average person’s life?
Our fear and trepidation often casts advanced technology as inherently sinister, but there is plenty of technology out there doing the exact opposite by keeping us safe and improving our quality of living. For example, the Internet of Things (IoT) has been able to leverage digital landscapes for improved safety, operations, and efficiency.
These diagnostic tools have monitored and gathered data from everyday appliances like refrigerators or smartwatches to aircraft engines to supervise safety and maintenance. Now, instead of merely estimating when an airplane engine is due for maintenance, IoT has allowed us to know precisely when the engine is due for care or repairs. In instances such as these, technology provides the data that allows us to reduce errors, increase safety, and overall optimize processes.
Robotics, machine learning, IoT, and other advanced technology offer us major possibilities to live more efficient, safe lives, reduce hard labor, and improve our living conditions. What challenges and opportunities do you foresee? Do you think these advanced technologies will increase our freedom?
What problems do you want to solve with technology? What do you want to create? How can we balance caution and concern with innovation?
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