Wednesday, April 17, 2024

    Ethics, Privacy, and the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence

    Monitor Displaying Computer Application
    Image Source: Pexels

    As artificial intelligence has become increasingly advanced, it has worked its way into all areas of our lives.

    Over the last few years, industries from software to accounting have experienced an influx of technology. As we expand the amount of data we collect from consumers, we are using it to create increasingly tailored experiences.

    Marketing and retail have benefited in particular from using these advanced systems. With the increased data they can target more specific consumer groups and even anticipate their future needs.

    Concerns about the safety of artificial intelligence have been raised since before AI was fully developed. The core of artificial intelligence is a computer’s ability to take in large amounts of data and organically learn from it. Its effect has been thoroughly felt in the SaaS industry, as more responsive pages and suggestions become the norm. The data generated and used by SaaS platforms is used to react dynamically to consumer patterns. These applications range from determining customers to re-target with new marketing campaigns or to react to the proliferation of e-wallets in retail transactions. In response to security concerns, many companies have taken measures to ensure the privacy and safety of consumers.  The results are smoother, more efficient businesses, but we have to make sure that these systems are using vast amounts of data ethically. 

    To take full advantage of the benefits artificial intelligence offers, we have to remember it is designed to support us, not replace us. Utilizing it as a support system and keeping this focus in mind can help us move forward in an ethical, impactful way. As these systems become more advanced and more prevalent, how can we ensure that they are functioning ethically? These are highly advanced systems that are built by humans who have ingrained biases, agendas, and preferences. How do we keep those biases from being integrated into these systems?

    The Benefits of AI

    Industries across the map have experienced advancement through artificial intelligence. Applications exist in marketing, health care services, and even education. By utilizing these advanced technologies, many industries can become efficient and impactful. Healthcare, however, has recently experienced some of the biggest changes.

    Big Data has had a chance to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of ongoing and acute conditions. AI has impacted almost every area of healthcare and has changed the way that we interact with healthcare on a day to basis. The rise in the availability of telehealth services has been the most notable as it expands the ability to provide COVID-19 screening. It is also used to rule out life-threatening possibilities and can help protect high-risk populations. There is also an increasing use of virtual assistants by elderly and chronically ill patients in maintaining care routines and access other important health resources.

    A vital development in the business sector has been the use of AI to streamline the customer service process. The implementation of chatbots has been a recent investment for many companies as a solution to keeping up with a consumer base that has grown accustomed to immediate gratification. In some cases chatbots can even complete sales and other transactions, providing quick, high-quality care to end-users. This can include upselling and tailoring packages or experiences to the customer’s particular profile. As systems gather and parse this extensive personal data, we have to be careful how the information is being used. We also have to ensure that those uses remain ethical.

    Social Concerns and Ethical Bias

    The scope of AI effects is massive, from social impact to individual behavior. Some services are already beginning to be replaced with independent automated interfaces. As the applications expand, we have to consider how we are going to respond to ethical and social issues that are developing as a result. This includes long-held concerns with unemployment.

    The impact of a shift towards artificial intelligence goes far beyond individual jobs. The replacement of people with machines has been a concern for industrial workers for a long time. With the spread of AI, the impact of automation on construction and industrial jobs has the potential to be more widespread than ever. Worse, the creation of inherently biased AI systems is presenting immediate ethical concerns. AI  solutions have begun to be used in everything from security, to research, to heal healthcare, bringing with it the biases of its creators.

    One of the hardest aspects of artificial intelligence for computer scientists to overcome is the fact that AIs are created by humans. While algorithms may expand and develop, they grow from a system influenced by the unconscious biases of the people who create them. Some regulations do exist to govern the ethical use of artificial intelligence, but we already seeing the effect of built-in biases. Security systems that are unable to tell people of color apart have already been noted. Even AI medical analyses have failed to categorize patients properly and must be monitored by humans. To keep ourselves safe, we have to consider how much and what type of information we are sharing.

    Staying Safe

    A key way to keep you and your information safe in the age of artificial intelligence is to limit how much information you make widely accessible. This goes beyond not giving out bank information or clicking on that shady-looking email. We now have extensive Internet of Things (IoT) that links your phone, computer, and smart home systems. What you share has become almost limitless if you are not careful.

    Not all applications of AI are benevolent and high-quality internet protection is a must. Companies like Norton and MacAfee have been around for years, and continue to be high-visibility names when it comes to online data safety. Make sure that you know what it is allowing through, as well as what it is keeping out. Parts of your systems will need access to firewalls, but it is important to stay informed on which concessions are necessary and which aren’t.

    In addition to malware programs, several browser extensions can help increase your security. These applications protect your information by warning you when a website appears malicious or unreliable. Utilizing random password generators and password keepers is another way to ensure that your information is secure. Password Keepers, on the other hand, save passwords in an offline system. They can also help you generate random combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters to use. This reduces the likelihood of security breaches or unauthorized activity.

    While the implementation of AI means that we will constantly be interacting with information gathering centers, we can still make sure that we keep ourselves as safe as possible. Through staying knowledgeable, knowing what information must be shared, and what can be dangerous, as well as maintaining high-security standards for all of your devices. As AI continues to expand, we have to be aware of the part that we play in it, and where our choices lie.

    Present and Future of AI

    The development and application of AI is a continually expanding industry. It brings with it exciting, potentially life-saving possibilities, along with concerning dangers. As we move forward with these high-tech achievements, we have to be aware of the effects it can have both on individuals and as a community. Artificial intelligence is supposed to support us, not replace human interactions, and keeping that in mind is essential to remember so that we can continue to create better systems.

    A main concern of AI is the fact that it is designed by humans who, in the end, are flawed. Highly complex decisions can be affected by the unconscious bias of the computer scientists who unknowingly programmed them into the system. The result is that advanced systems are being put in place to manage peoples’ health and safety that are far from impartial. By ensuring ethical practices we can help keep those who are utilizing this technology safer.

    Artificial intelligence is creeping into our everyday lives, whether we like it or not, and whether we are aware of it or not. It is much more than self-driving cars and automatic grocery deliveries, however. Those who are creating these systems have a responsibility to make sure that they are used ethically. As we continue to share more and more information, we have to be aware of the dangers and take steps to keep ourselves and our data safe.

    Jori Hamilton
    Jori Hamilton
    An experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to AI, Machine Learning, AR/VR, business productivity, and gaming.

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