Select Page

In today’s technology market, artificial intelligence is the prime player, with every business scrambling to find a way to incorporate it into their product offerings. Traditionally, the term “artificial intelligence” is an intentionally broad umbrella that includes everything from computer programs that are able to sort through and learn from data without human intervention (i.e. machine learning) to the software underlying the ever popular voice-activated smart assistants offered by Amazon and Google. While critics of artificial intelligence have denoted numerous ethical issues with the technology, such as the notable implications of applications like deep fakes (which in effect overlays the face of one person onto the body of another), it is important for society to realize that the net gain of this revolutionary tech will be positive for individuals and societies alike.

There have always been those who have leveraged new advances to do evil – from those that flocked to the Internet to steal the personal information of unsuspecting users to the individuals that utilized bitcoin to purchase illegal drugs on the dark web. However, just because an innovative tool is abused by a few nefarious individuals does not mean that the technology underlying it is inherently evil. One must look at artificial intelligence through this lens, as despite the issues that mis-steps like Microsoft’s racist chat bot presents, research as shown that long-term impacts will be overwhelmingly positive.

For example, a recent study shows that in the next few decades artificial intelligence will be responsible for the net creation of 200,000 jobs around the world. This analysis supports a trend that is a far cry from the economic crisis due to a widespread loss of jobs that was originally expected to occur at the technology’s inception. Such job creation will help to provide meaningful work and secure income for hundreds of thousands of individuals. Yet, the real positive benefits that society will reap from artificial intelligence will likely translate into lower rates of disease, higher production of nutritional foodstuffs, and widespread resilience to the impending effects of climate change. And it is in these potential areas of advancement that social entrepreneurs should be exploring solutions to big problems.

In fact, some are already busy with these advances that might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but each of them is being actively implemented today. Those within the health care system are exploring how artificial intelligence can help to discover diseases like cancer before they become terminal. Farmers are pairing intelligence sensors placed throughout their fields with machine learning to increase annual yields for nutrient rich crops like wheat. Most impressively, these trends fail to compare to the thousands of experts lending their knowledge to the development of open source software for natural disaster relief and prevention.

Clearly, artificial intelligence is set to positively impact numerous different facets of our global society. While there will always be those that attempt to use A.I. for evil, it is abundantly clear that these efforts will be dwarfed when compared to those similar to the trends mentioned above. As has been the case with other paradigm shifting development, artificial intelligence is a trend in which all will benefit from in some form, regardless of their geographic or socioeconomic status.