3. AI – Impact on Society

The development and uptake of AI has been rapid and it is currently being used in some exciting and life-changing ways, however it does come with some ethical and employment concerns. The impact it will have on our everyday lives and jobs should be considered. Some examples are:

Self-driving cars

One concern with self-driving cars is trying to control the decisions the cars will make in a deadly situation. If the car is about to crash into a pedestrian, should the AI protect the victim or the driver? This is a form of the philosophical problem, the trolley dilemma.

When this dilemma is applied to self-driving cars, programmers must make a similar moral decision to determine what the outcome of a potential crash should be when developing AI.

think The self-driving trolley problem: how will future AI systems make the most ethical choices for all of us? an article from The Conversation, 24 November 2021, ponders this question: “Unlike humans, robots lack a moral conscience and follow the “ethics” programmed into them. At the same time, human morality is highly variable. The “right” thing to do in any situation will depend on who you ask.”

Amazon jobs AI

Amazon created an AI to help narrow down applications for jobs they had advertised. The AI was developed to take hundreds of resumes and reduce it down to the top 5 for recruiters to interview. However, before being fully implemented and after various test runs, the AI was found to have a gender bias towards males due to the data it was using: the last 10 years of successful hires. Since there was a male bias in the technology industry the AI was unfairly undervaluing women, and any applicants who mentioned women in their resume.

The AI simply scanned the data it was given for patterns and similarities and applied the lessons learnt to its task, however it lacked the nuance or rules for not valuing individuals based on their gender. Read more: Insight – Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women (Reuters, 11 October 2018).

Unemployment – automatic tellers, chatbots etc

AI being able to undertake various tasks has the potential to replace a human completing those same tasks. This creates uncertainty in some industries around their future.

Fake news generator

AI used to generate language is being rapidly developed. In 2020 Open AI developed a model called GPT-3 and used it to write an article for the Guardian – A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human? GPT-3.

This article explaining GPT-3 concludes that “GPT-3 can generate samples of news articles which human evaluators have difficulty distinguishing from articles written by humans.”

In 2019, OpenAI’s model, called GPT-2, generated coherent paragraphs of text unsupervised. The paper released discussing its uses, has a number of samples within showing its capabilities.

read icon For a very detailed look into how the model works, read the full paper, Language models are Unsupervised Multitask Learners, published by OpenAI staff Alec Radford, Jeffrey Wu, Rewon Child, David Luan, Dario Amodei and Ilya Sutskever.

The samples illustrate how the model can be given a sentence or two, and then produce completely made up stories with consistent details from the given information.

One of the samples of the GPT-2 model generating paragraphs of text from a small sample:

Context (human-written): In a shocking finding, a scientist discovered a herd of unicorns living in a remote, previously unexplored valley, in the Andes Mountains. Even more surprising to the researchers was the fact that the unicorns spoke perfect English.

GTP-2: The scientist named the population, after their distinctive horn, Ovid’s Unicorn. These four-horned, silver-white unicorns were previously unknown to science.

Now, after almost two centuries, the mystery of what sparked this odd phenomenon is finally solved.
Dr. Jorge Péprez, an evolutionary biologist from the University of La Paz, and several companions, were exploring the Andes Mountains when they found a small valley, with no other animals or humans. Pérez noticed that the valley had what appeared to be a natural fountain, surrounded by two peaks of rock and silver snow.

Pérez and the others then ventured further in to the valley. “by the time we reached the top of one peak, the water looked blue, with some crystals on top,” said Pérez.

Pérez and his friends were astonished to see the unicorn herd. These creatures could be seen from the air without having to move too much to see them – they were so close they could touch their horns.
While examining these bizarre creatures the scientists discovered that the creatures also spoke some fairly regular English. Pérez stated, “We can see, for example, that they have a common ‘language’, something like a dialect or dialectic.”

Dr. Pérez believes that the unicorns may have originated in Argentina, where the animals were believed to be descendants of a lost race of people who lived there before the arrival of humans in those parts of South America.

While their origins are still unclear, some believe that perhaps the creatures were created when a human and a unicorn met each other in a time before human civilization. According to Pérez, “In South America, such incidents seem to be quite common.”

However, Pérez also pointed out that is likely that the only way of knowing for sure if unicorns are indeed the descendants of a lost alien race is through DNA. “But they seem to be able to communicate in English quite well, which I believe is a sign of evolution, or at least a change in social organization,” said the scientist.

AI text-adventure game

Nathan Whitmore, a graduate of Northwestern University, has used GPT-2 to create a text adventure game that creates itself as you play it. You can read more about Nathan’s work and play the game on his tumblr website, Quick, to the rat cave!

Image generator

Nvidia has produced a generative adversarial network (GAN) that generates entirely new images that appear real. To see this in action go to thispersondoesnotexist.com, every time you refresh the page you will be greeted with a brand new image produced by the generator.

video icon A Style-Based Generator Architecture for Generative Adversarial Networks (YouTube, 6m17s) illustrates and describes how a GAN takes the images of three people to generate a completely new image.

Google Lens

Google Lens is an image recognition app for Android devices that uses your smartphone camera and deep machine learning to detect an object and understand what it is and offer suggestions. It can be used for actions such as shopping, translating text and searching.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Digital Skills: Artificial Intelligence Copyright © 2024 by Charles Sturt University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book