Generative AI

Artificial intelligence has become a topic of significant discourse, with some hailing the technology as a game-changer and others fearing its threats. The truth, however, is somewhere in between. While AI has the potential to solve many social challenges we face in the world, certain pitfalls to the technology still exist that must be overcome before we can get there.

The Positive Applications of AI for Social Good

Many have hailed AI for its capability to revolutionize work, allowing workers to streamline their day-to-day operations and improve productivity and efficiency, but it isn’t merely in an industrial sense that artificial intelligence could change the world. Several use cases have been discovered through which AI technology has the potential to inspire legitimate, positive social change.

For example, in the field of education, artificial intelligence models can provide unprecedented levels of customization for students’ needs. Because class sizes are larger and teachers are in short supply, teachers often cannot provide the assistance needed to students who need extra help or enrichment for students who are ahead. AI can be used to supplement classroom instruction, provide personalized learning experiences, identify learning gaps and provide targeted support.

In health care, AI’s data analysis capabilities can be leveraged to provide better care to patients. AI models can be trained to analyze patient charts and tests to improve diagnoses and suggest potential treatment regimens. In a broader sense, AI can be used to analyze data and predict large-scale trends such as outbreaks or by researchers for purposes like testing during drug discovery.

AI could also significantly benefit sustainability initiatives. AI models can automate the monitoring of environmental changes, allowing much more efficient identification of areas that need attention. Predictive analytics can predict natural disasters and better prepare the community. Finally, AI can optimize resource management with a combination of its data analysis and predictive analytics capabilities.

Pitfalls of AI Use

However, despite the potentially transformative power of AI, we must be responsible with how we use and integrate this innovative technology into our everyday lives. Critics have expressed legitimate and reasonable concerns, ranging from the technology’s safety to its potential consequences on the workforce. To create an ecosystem where AI can coexist with human workers and be used as a tool to supplement our productivity, these risks must first be mitigated.

One of the chief concerns surrounding artificial intelligence is its potential for bias. It is important to remember that AI models are entirely dependent on pre-existing data, and while critics have primarily called attention to this regarding the mistakes and inaccuracies AI can report, we must also acknowledge that any bias in the data on which AI models are trained will be reflected in its output. If a data set a model is trained on is biased against certain demographics or social groups, AI threatens to perpetuate societal biases.

Another major issue surrounding the use of artificial intelligence is data privacy. Because AI models rely on vast amounts of data, it is essential to understand how these models collect and utilize user data. For instance, some programs use user inputs as part of the training process for the model, meaning users must be keenly aware of the privacy policy and terms of use of whatever software they use and carefully consider what information they are feeding into and allowing the AI to access.

Of course, many have also expressed fear that jobs will be displaced by artificial intelligence. Because AI can automate many routine and repetitive tasks, laborers on the more unskilled end of the spectrum could see their jobs made redundant because of automation. While there are opportunities for upskilling and reskilling, which would allow these workers to transition into more of a supervisory role overseeing new AI-powered operations, this presents a challenge in and of itself.

Artificial intelligence is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used to inspire and execute genuine social good, but there are nevertheless several pitfalls that we must navigate to reap these benefits. By understanding these challenges and mitigating them with responsible use, we can pave the way for a future where artificial intelligence can be a force of good.