Viewpoint: The AI revolution will leave us 'struggling to understand'

As artificial intelligence increasingly transforms industries and society at large, it is crucial to consider how that transformation will affect human reasoning and decision-making, according to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, PhD, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, PhD, and Daniel Huttenlocher, PhD, dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing.

In an op-ed for The Atlantic, the trio wrote that they are unable "to fully analyze a future in which machines help guide their own evolution." Instead, they have dedicated considerable time and effort to discussing how humans can anticipate and respond to that evolution.

The AI "revolution" can best be compared to the shift from the medieval to the modern period, when society transferred its reliance on religion to reason and logic instead. Similarly, they wrote, AI will inevitably cause humans to completely rethink truth and reality; here are some ways they suggest we mitigate the resulting upheaval:

  • Program digital assistants to refuse to answer philosophical questions
  • Require human involvement when AI is used for high-stakes pattern recognition, as in reading imaging data
  • Develop simulations to observe how AI defines ambiguous values like ethics and reason, and correct its inaccuracies
  • Establish an administrative field of AI ethics

"The three of us differ in the extent to which we are optimists about AI. But we agree that it is changing human knowledge, perception, and reality — and, in so doing, changing the course of human history," they wrote. "We seek to understand it and its consequences, and encourage others across disciplines to do the same."

More articles about AI:
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Machine learning predicts individual malaria outcomes, disease progression
Health tech consortium releases ethical guidelines for AI use in healthcare

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