AI “Revolution”?

We all know that phrases such as “Artificial Intelligence”, “Machine Learning” and “Data Science” have become buzzwords thrown in every corner. Surely today is the era of Artificial Intelligence with the emergence of Big Data and with the leap in computation power. Perhaps, we are going through a revolution, a technical revolution, that will be written in the textbooks of those secondary-school students of the 22nd century (perhaps textbooks will be gotten rid of by that time, and be replaced with transferable knowledge via chips, who knows!?). However, I find myself overwhelmed with this new wave in technology. I am tired of hearing CEOs, CTOs, lecturers, student-presenters, news reporters etc. uttering these phrases and overlooking the side effects of this “revolution” and not considering the potential long-term consequences in society.  

Firstly, let’s start with the question: “What is the necessity of AI, and what is the world without it?”. Well, the second part of the question’s answer is observable when we travel back a couple of decades. But when it comes to the first part of the question, we have to dig deeper into another question: “What makes an invention a necessity?”

A simple answer to the question could be: “Well, the utility that it brings and the ease that it provides makes it a necessity.” But those that think in this way should also consider this: “Is society built on utility?”, “Is it the increase in utility that makes us more dignified creatures?”, “What problems in society does yearning for utility solve?”. Such questions are crucial in being raised in order to really question where we are headed towards. In fact, if we have a look at the way tech-giants use AI and integrate it in our lives, I do not think that it has provided time-efficient tools when looked from a wider perspective. Take the recommendation algorithms that Amazon, Facebook, Google, YouTube etc. uses. Before a decade, YouTube’s video recommendations for its user was not as personalized for the user as it is today. So, when you had watched a video on YouTube, it was highly likely that you did not find yourself lost in a loop of video recommendations of your flavor and end up wasting your precious time. And you would not remember buying anything online from Amazon until you really needed it and searched for it, without falling into the trap of smart advertisements. On the other hand, people of every age today are hypnotized by these so called “algorithms for better user experience” and become money-generating machines for the tech giants by tapping/clicking on tempting recommendations. 

To further elaborate, even though those that are mesmerized by this revolution think that by the help of AI and automation we do not have to busy ourselves with trivial jobs, if we reflect on what we usually do in that free time period that is believed to be provided, you would change your mind. The ease of unlocking your phone increases the frequency of busying yourself with your phone since it removes obstacles of accessing to the content in your phone, thus increasing your social media activity. Your activeness in social media is turned into more tempting featured videos to take a look at. Completing easy tasks using your favorite voice assistant feeds it with more personal data to further come with smarter advertisements that pop when browsing, thus channeling your feelings to spend more money. The smartness of navigation that help you travel quicker forms a narrower consciousness of your living area by always providing you with the shortest path. The examples are too many to be fitted in a short article. To conclude, AI is a plague that minimizes human interaction in an age in which the most common problem of society is loneliness. Furthermore, it subconsciously makes people submit to giant companies’ aim of consuming customer/user time which generates more revenue by providing so-called “conveniences”. Eventually such blindly-rolling advances in technology, by the use of automation, will result in generating a society with no dexterity. Not only that, but the highest form of human action, thinking, too will be challenged and diminish with the human mind’s entanglement to the alluring social media platform. 

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