Tuesday morning’s Artificial Intelligence Academy 2017 in the aid of FinTech week examined the impact the rise of AI will have on global work forces and questioned the ethical-legal landscape of increased implementation. It is abundantly clear from the series of talks that AI is extensively growing, or ‘having a moment’ as Peter McBurney pointed out, and is projected to be worth $466 billion by 2020. However, though this growth may be exciting and lead us to infinite potential opportunities for AI to innovate the world of business, it left me apprehensive about the social impact. McBurney highlighted the importance of transparency in AI to maintain an ethical foundation, but this seems difficult to achieve. Consider an autonomous car runs over a person, it cannot explain why. We can logically follow why it may have done so, but it cannot be transparent in the way human intelligence can to explain their actions which is problematic. This leads to the conclusion that AI needs to work harmoniously with the natural advantages of humans, and slot in where needed.
This doesn’t seem to be where AI is projected to go. Conor McGovern projected that in the legal sector, 50% of legal work is replaceable by AI, and this is just one industry. IBM’s Watson, according to McGovern, is proposed to be doing just 1% of the work it will be doing in 5 years time. This leads to question whether AI will simply support us and just free humanity from the burden of mundane working life, or does it have the capability to make all working and middle-class jobs obsolete and widen the wealth gap? It seems daunting to consider that AI will be used to cheaply and quickly replace human intelligence, rather than making millions of workers simply more efficient. The nexus of AI needs to be rooted therefore in moral responsibility by fitting the natural advantages of machines around the natural advantages of humans.