The Potential Negative Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Potential Solutions

The Potential Negative Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Potential Solutions: Shunxin Dang, MSC Financial Risk Management student and Trinity Business School Runner-up in the CoBS 2022 student CSR article competition, explores artificial intelligence and the potential areas of risk awaiting society.

Shunxin Dang, MSc Financial Risk Management student and Trinity Business School Runner-up in the CoBS 2022 student CSR article competition, explores artificial intelligence and the potential areas of risk awaiting society.  

The Potential Negative Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Potential Solutions by Shunxin Dang.

Shunxin Dang, Trinity Business School

After more than 60 years of development, AI has made significant progress in various fields such as big data, unmanned driving and brain science. As artificial intelligence appears more and more frequently in our life, the discussion on artificial intelligence becomes more lively. It is undeniable that the development of artificial intelligence has indeed brought convenience to our lives, but at the same time, it has also triggered people’s thinking about the potential risks of artificial intelligence.

The Potential Negative Impact of Artificial Intelligence on children

With the development of AI voice, many children’s toys, home audio and other products have been further upgraded, adding natural language dialogue interaction. Let’s think about if these smart toys also “learning” when young children are learning to speak. What will happen?

Do children’s toys, as well as home audio, collect data, analyze children’s learning style, speech habits and family information? Will collected data and information be directed to the children’s clothing industry, snack industry or toy industry? Will these industries analyze and evaluate the information they collect and target ads to families with children? And at this time, are toys still just toys, or toys that become a sounding board for the development of enterprises?

More imaginatively, in addition to potentially monetizing the information they gather, the information gathered might also turn the toy into a basis for bias. If intelligent toys push information such as children’s learning style and growth speed to the education department, will schools and teachers classify students’ family background and learning ability before children enter school, and will they set new admission requirements? Will we one day start to deliberately curry favor with artificial intelligence?

The Potential Negative Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Adults

The rapid development of artificial intelligence in the past decade has benefited from the human desire to “replace labor” with artificial intelligence. Now that AI is deeply embedded in every part of the supply chain, from customer preference analysis and market analysis to cargo sorting and delivery, big data analytics and unmanned technologies have “worked” and humans’ jobs have been taken by it.

The World Economic Forum mentioned in The Future of Jobs Report 2020 that AI will replace 85 million Jobs around the world in 2025. With the development of artificial intelligence, we finally realize the dream of freeing our hands, and at the same time, we also face the added “welfare” of unemployment.

The Potential Negative Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the aged

Even the elderly are not immune to the negative effects of artificial intelligence. Undeniably, digital endowment can monitor some of the physical indicators of the elderly, ensure their health (especially those living alone), and can replace their children to accompany them. However, the over-reliance of the elderly on artificial intelligence is also worth considering.

When the aged rely too much on robots and have too much trust in them, or even regard them as a substitute for interpersonal communication, their expectations rise – perhaps too high. Technical glitches, as well as understanding the technicalities of using AI-equipped machines, will undoubtedly pose a problem for older citizens.  

Potential Risk Analysis

Applying the above issues posed by the development of artificial intelligence to people of different ages, sorting them out we find that the so-called risks can be roughly divided into the following four categories: privacy, prejudice, employment and ethics.

The development of artificial intelligence has obviously infringed upon privacy. The monitoring of electronic devices and the directional push of big data have appeared in our lives. Indeed, the problem of bias brought about by artificial intelligence is not far away. The National Institute of Standards and Technology Report notes that most facial recognition algorithms exhibit bias. Facial recognition technology misidentifies black and Asian faces 10 to 100 times more often than white faces, with women more likely to be mistaken than men.

It is inevitable that some jobs will disappear as a result of the development of artificial intelligence. When machine learning, mechanical automation and other fields gradually develop and improve, related jobs will be replaced by tireless artificial intelligence. Moral and ethical issues have been the topic of discussion in recent decades. These are not only limited to the aged, but also reflect in a variety of human emotions, with movies related to it emerging in an endless stream.

Beautiful robots in Ex Machina become tools for satisfying carnal desires; in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, robots are actually the resurrection of dead relatives and guide people to escape from death. The hero in Her uses his virtual girlfriend to escape normal interpersonal communication in reality. Although the film is fictional, the moral, ethical and emotional issues raised by AI reflected in these films do have a potential impact.

The Potential Negative Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Potential Solutions: Shunxin Dang, MSC Financial Risk Management student and Trinity Business School Runner-up in the CoBS 2022 student CSR article competition, explores artificial intelligence and the potential areas of risk awaiting society.

Precautionary measures

In response to the issue of privacy disclosure, the international community should formulate a reasonable and transparent AI application management report as soon as possible, taking into account the opinions of enterprises, governments, civil society organizations, international organizations and scholars. The report should clarify the limits on information collected by AI and the specific uses of the information collected. 

At the same time, countries should improve their legal measures according to their national conditions, formulate clear punishment measures for privacy trafficking and information abuse, strengthen governance, and promote the protection of human rights through the rule of law.

To address the problem of bias, development teams should try to fully understand the data source when writing the program to ensure that the data itself is fair and reasonable. The development team itself should also pay attention to bias and be proactive in improving data when it is skewed. If necessary, international cooperation can be considered to carry out mutual supervision or multiple supervision.

In view of the potential wave of unemployment engendered, the government should carry out market survey and forecast as soon as possible, monitor the total number of unemployed people, improve the social welfare security system of unemployed people, and in addition actively develop new industries and create more new jobs to ease the pressure on the job market.

To address moral and ethical issues, governments should provide a learning platform for their citizens to receive AI-related education and help them adapt mentally and emotionally to the development of artificial intelligence. It should also be clear that AI must not be given any autonomous ability to harm, destroy or deceive humans.

Shunxin Dang, Trinity Business School, Council on Business & Society
Shunxin Dang

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The Council on Business & Society (The CoBS), visionary in its conception and purpose, was created in 2011, and is dedicated to promoting responsible leadership and tackling issues at the crossroads of business and society including sustainability, diversity, ethical leadership and the place responsible business has to play in contributing to the common good.  

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- Africa: Stellenbosch Business School, South Africa; ESSEC Africa, Morocco. 
- South America: FGV-EAESP, Brazil.

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