The Future of AI Lies in Your Hands
I have a bit of a confession to make (and I am probably the only one in my generation to have held out on this). I hadn’t bought a single thing online before producing the Retail Tech Summit.
For research sake, I thought I’d better go on a bit of a virtual shopping spree (very enjoyable project I assigned myself!). The whole process was impressive. From very relevant product recommendations, to the information provided, right up till my once intangible products were magically in my hands.
I have to be honest though, if I hadn’t stopped myself with all these items being suggested to me, I would have a bit of a hefty credit card debt. It got me to thinking of all future instances where I may not have such strong will power. I will inevitably throw self-deprivation out the window to succumb to what I am sure to think I ‘need’.
The Subtle Approaching of AI
This was all daunting enough, until the true reality hit – this was actually tame use of AI. I came across an article on LinkedIn about the potential of AI to read and interpret human thoughts. While this may sound very doomsday-ish, there’s no denying this is a very real possibility. There’s a plethora of other scenarios I’m sure you’ve got at least one of imprinted in your imagination. I read the other day that you cannot have advanced technologies in any beneficial way without advanced thinking. This seemed to be the perfect, yet contrasting, example of this article that spun me into a state of shock-horror.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for AI and the amazing opportunities it presents to transform our lives. What I’m not all for is if technology advances at a pace faster than the human race evolves. Instead of being used responsibly and for the benefit of all, it’s used for power, manipulation and control.
I am sure this has run through everyone’s minds at some point.
Crossroads with AI
The way I see it is we are at a crossroads. We could approach AI with the intention to serve. Take for example developing product recommendations because the customer may get joy out of purchasing that product. It can also improve their satisfaction from faster delivery of items to in-store experience. Of course, profit is the end goal and there’s no avoiding that. But if we go the other way and completely disregard the common good, then there’s a good chance it will become quickly imbalanced.
Right now at least, it’s a matter of being conscious in your decision making, rather than being impressionable. But if it reaches the stage where we start to lose that control, that’s when the future begins to look dim. I for one do not want to live in a world like that. I want AI to take the mundane, slave-like tasks out of the lives of others. AI can help free everyone to live in a world where they do what they do for the love of doing it. This can enable everyone to be much more creative beings.
There are of course going to be some who use AI for power. But every individual has the responsibility to look at the intention behind their use of it. Let’s make a conscious choice to use it to serve others.
After all, whatever we do to others, we do to ourselves.