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What comes to mind when you think of AI? Is it Siri or is it the idea of robots walking the streets? AI has been advancing at incredible rates with many companies and organizations spending billions of dollars on research and development. As AI has advanced, however, great thought leaders like Elon Musk and Bill Gates have begun to voice their concerns about the future of AI and its risks to humanity. Some of these risks are severe and many have proposed the end to the human race with the development of general AI. So, what does this mean and what exactly are the risks? Let’s find out.



Where Are We Headed?

For right now, most of us have likely experienced narrow AI. This is the type of AI powering Siri, Uber and targeted ads. But as scientists and programmers spend more and more time researching AI, the closer we are getting to the emergence of general AI. The kind of AI we see in the movies, the one that can spark fear in many. General AI can think for itself and will be able to learn and act like an autonomous being.

General AI has the potential to be incredibly useful or destructive for the world. With the ability to think and act faster and better than humans, this kind of AI can improve our lives. General AI could be able to better predict and diagnosis diseases, conduct better space exploration tactics and solve global warming. On the other hand, General AI could outsmart humanity and render us useless or lead the world to destruction.


An End to Humanity or Humans? 

There are two main concerns when it comes to the rise of general AI. The first and most extreme risk would be the possibility of the end of the human race. As general AI advances, it will outsmart humanity. With this level of intelligence, general AI may begin to develop their own goals or take control of the world. With ambition and level of power, general AI may one day decide humans are useless and are no longer needed.

Another scenario would be one where AI doesn’t take control of the world but instead “improves” every aspect of our lives. Imagine having AI that can find your perfect partner, monitor every aspect of your body to ensure your health and provide perfect advice for your financial plans. Sounds great? Not really. Even if humans were to maintain power, if we were to have AI give perfect advice for every aspect of our life, are we really in control? Even still, what would it be like to be human without having hardships or heartache? If we have AI to ensure that we make every decision perfectly, we will miss out on the aspects of life that make us who we are. We will miss out on our humanity.


Friendly AI

Although there are some scary possibilities for the future of AI, it doesn’t have to be all bad. Many organizations have begun research for the creation and development of “Friendly AI”. AI that will not aim to take over the world and possibly bring an end to the human race. This research looks at different constraints, development techniques, and exit strategies to understand how we can ensure that the rise of general AI brings more benefits than risks.


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Jules Julien, S. T. (n.d.). What Will Our Society Look Like When Artificial Intelligence Is Everywhere? Retrieved from

Pandya, J. (2019, April 12). Protecting Humanity In The Face Of Artificial Intelligence. Retrieved from

Emily Cummings

Author Emily Cummings

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