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Technology is increasingly being used in our daily lives. Artificial intelligence is one field where technological progress has been particularly quick. The modeling of digital devices and robots to carry out functions normally performed by intelligent creatures is known as artificial intelligence (AI). The creation of systems with human-like intellectual processes is referred to as artificial intelligence (AI). These qualities include the capacity for logic, meaning-finding, extrapolation, and learning from prior encounters.
Over the past 60 years, AI has been developing steadily. The Turing Test for machines was first suggested in the 1950s by Alan Turing, the founder of computer science. During the test, a computer was used to respond questions. Then, a human interrogator was to evaluate the answers and examine whether they could tell if the questions were answered by a computer or a human being. When the interrogator failed to differentiate the output as either human or machine-generated, then this means that the machine has displayed some form of intelligence. Over the 70-year period, advancements have been made in AI across all its facets. Examples of improvements in AI include the release of autonomous cars by Tesla and Ford, Google's Deep Mind defeating Lee Sedol, and the world champion in the complex Chinese board game Go and IBM Watson. Others would include a cognitive machine has been able to detect misdiagnosis previously done by human doctors (Reese, n.p). Strides made in fields like machine learning and robotics are enhancing the impact that AI has on our day to day lives.
The importance of AI in today’s world is undisputed. Advancements in the field have gone a long way in improving the quality of life. However, despite these advancements, one reality holds: as the improvements in AI technology continues, machines are taking over jobs that were previously held by humans. In one of the advancements, Tesla has been engaged in the production of driverless cars. The implication is that once driverless cars are commercially produced, they will replace commercial drivers. Once computers, robots, and intelligent agents take on the central roles in many industries that once provided jobs for humans, the fundamental question in many peoples mind will be the implications for human workers. Will there be massive unemployment, mass poverty, and in turn social distortion? The only clear and precise prognosis is that AI and continued advancement in technology will have a very significant impact on the labor market.
The uncertainty brought about by advancement in technology have provided new challenges for employers, employees, educators, and legislators. It seems that technology is developing at a faster rate, stakeholders are unable to match this pace and are always caught flat-footed. The legislation is lagging behind, especially labor laws that are relevant to the 21st-century labor reality.
This paper aims to discuss the impact of advancement in AI on the society. AI is rapidly taking over jobs that have previously been held by humans, and this is bound to have an impact on the society. Of interest are the legal frameworks that apply to AI and real-life legal problems that have been brought about by it.
Historical Development in Artificial Intelligence
As stated earlier, the historical development of artificial intelligence is approximately 60 years old. In the 1950s, Alan Turing started the exploration of using mathematics in the development of Artificial Intelligence. His work was however limited by the reality of the time. Computers were not yet developed to store commands, and the cost of owning it was prohibitive. Not much research could be advanced at the time. The term Artificial Intelligence was coined by John McCarthy. In John and Marvin Minsky organized a historic conference where Allen Newell, Cliff Shaw, and Herbert Simon presented the Logic Theorist. This was deemed to be the first program to portray Artificial Intelligence. The conference provided the first platform where artificial intelligence was discussed.
During the twenty years that followed, there were significant developments in AI. Computers became more advanced and could store more information. The success in the advancement of AI and advocacy from researchers convinced the U.S government to get in on the action. Agencies like the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) funded more AI research. The government was interested in a machine that could transcribe and translate the spoken language and process data. The expectation was high, but after the initial blockades were broken, challenges emerged on the development of AI. The slowdown in development led to a reduction in funding and research.
In the 1980s the interest in AI was reignited. The development and popularization of deep learning techniques by John Hopfield and David Rumelhart showed that computers could learn through experience. The development of the expert systems by Edward Feigenbaum and the Japanese government funding of the fifth generation computer project were also significant milestones in AI. The Japanese project did not meet its intended target, but it produced a generation of engineers and scientist that would further the study of AI. In the 1990s, funding for research in AI was low. However, during this period, significant advancements were made. The computer program Deep Blue was able to defeat Gary Kasparov in chess; at the moment he was the reigning world champion. Speech Recognition Software was also implemented by windows, and Cynthia Breazeal developed the robot Kismet that could recognize and display emotions.
The current development in AI can be seen in many sectors. AI has been applied to customer service, healthcare, and even in the automobile industry. The milestones in AI have been facilitated by an increase in computation power. Every year the computer storage capacity and speed increase tremendously, which enables the developers to advance AI further.
Benefits of Artificial Intelligence
AI will change the way we live and work. AI technology has already been implemented in different areas of our lives including jobs, healthcare, and play time. The realm of possibilities that AI opens up makes this technology beneficial to human beings. The ability of AI to transform complex, ambiguous, and extensive data into something that is meaningful and useful will enable humans to solve issues and problems that have been previously considered too hard. The benefits of AI are many, and they vary significantly. The expectation is also high, and therefore it is important to note the benefits that will trickle down to the end users of AI.
One of the significant benefits of AI is the elimination of mundane and repetitive tasks. Repetitive jobs like cashiering, taxi drivers, and telemarketing are being replaced by bots. The people employed in this positions can be freed to work in more productive roles. An example is the use of AI in sales and marketing. The bots can conduct the customer outreach part of a sales transaction. Once a consumer is ready to buy, then a human being steps-in and closes the deal. The time consuming and the mind-numbing portion of sales is done by the AI system and the other lest tasking role is performed by humans, which creates an efficient system.
AI is also beneficial in analyzing Big Data. The amount of data being produced on a daily basis is enormous. Over the years' platforms for uploading data have increased, Facebook users have uploaded an estimated 250 billion pictures, and much more are uploaded each day. Intelligent machines can be used to sort out big data and make sense of it in a manner that is useful. Machines’ ability to disseminate and make sense of Big Data gives them the edge over humans. This finds application in research and development, production, sales and marketing and supporting business decisions by projecting. The same task will be time-consuming if done by human beings.
Efficiency can be enhanced by the use of AI. Well programmed machines can reduce mistakes and errors that can be attributed to human abilities. Through learning, a computer can be able to gain knowledge from experience. Through this, previous errors can be corrected, and the same can be programmed to other machines to enhance their capabilities. In China, the Changying Precision Technology replaced a considerable number of their workforce with robots. The robots have increased the efficiency by three times and reduce defection rate by 20%. Through increased efficiency, productivity will be improved, and losses will be reduced. The companies’ bottom lines will therefore increase.
Another advantage of AI is that dangerous and risky jobs previously done by humans can now be conducted by machines. Perilous factory work, mining, and other tasks that have been hazardous can be safely done by machines currently. Robots have been used in detonating bombs and in companies that produce harmful products like chemicals. AI will go a long way in reducing work-related injuries.
AI also enables companies to reduce cost. The application of AI in the workplace can reduce expenses like labor cost. The use of robots reduces production costs in manufacturing. German automakers have reduced labor costs from 40 dollars to 8 dollars per hour through the use of robots. Robots do not also require medical allowances and can work 24 hours per day 7days a week. This benefit of AI is controversial in that companies and their owners that use them benefit, but the bots are taking jobs away from humans. The low production costs will affect employment in most developing countries where companies from the developed countries had outsourced their labor. The production cost by a machine will be cheaper than producing goods in emerging markets like China and Singapore.
To better appreciate the benefits of AI, a cost-benefit analysis needs to be done. This will entail measuring the benefits of AI against the costs and evaluating whether the benefits outweigh the costs.
Problems in the Job Market Caused By Artificial Intelligence
Many jobs are at risk of being replaced by AI. It has already been harnessed in the several industries including healthcare, manufacturing, transport, customer service, and finance. In the healthcare industry, major pharmaceutical companies are using AI to enhance the field of medicine. A doctor can use machines in a medical procedure and therefore reduce the number of medical personnel required to carry out a medical procedure. In the transportation industry, truckers are in danger of being declared redundant by self-driving cars. Companies like Tesla, Ford, and Google have invested heavily in the production of self-driving cars, and once the idea is commercialized, trucking companies will save a lot on costs when they use the automated vehicles.
The jobs that are at most risks are repetitive jobs that do not require a lot of creative thinking like cashiers, drivers, telemarketers, and factory workers. The consensus is that there will be a disruption in the labor market caused by robotic automation. A lot of jobs will not exist as we know them and much more will be made redundant by future development of AI. The deployment of robots in the workplace will render over 5 million jobless in 15 developed countries by the year 2020. Proponents of AI believe that the advancement in this technology will create jobs. However, research has proven that for every one job created by automation, a more significant number will be lost mostly in the lower skill level of the market.
AI will also create inequality in the job market. The skilled labor required to run AI in the workplace is scarce and therefore in high demand. Labor wages for this kind of skill is predicted to rise by more than 60 percent while the unskilled workers are being rendered redundant by robots. This inequality is bound to create societal problems that are unique and new. Individuals employed in robotics will earn more while those lacking in these skills will be competing with robots for employment. Given that robots are cheaper to use in the workplace then the options open to low skilled workers are minimal. Workers being replaced by robots will most likely look up to the government to protect their jobs. Employees are counting on legislation and government policies to counter the negative impacts of automation in the workplace.
Employment Laws Regarding Artificial Intelligence
The use of Artificial Intelligence in the workplace has created new legal challenges for employers. Some of the areas that are of importance with regards to AI and employment law are redundancy and reorganization, grievances, liability, and reduced bias. Legislation has not yet matched up to the level of development in AI since technological strides are happening faster than governments can legislate. This section contains a review of some of the current laws and an analysis of their position with relation to AI.
Redundancy and reorganization are among the central realities of AI. Job losses will happen when companies automate. Changes in job functions will also occur with employers using both human and computerized workforce. Employers will have to comply with redundancy laws in the process of termination and restructuring. Redundancy will apply only when the employer can show genuine business reasons for termination. The employee must also be terminated following a set out due process. The employee has a right to a fair process, minimum notice period, and to consultation. Failure to follow this procedure can lead to compensation claims made against the employer.
Whenever an employer wants to change the role or job title of an employee when restructuring, the employee's express consent must be obtained because the employer has no legal rights to change the employment term of the employee. Employers must be careful when implementing redundancy and restructuring. Non-adherence to the law and any infringement of the rights of the employee can attract appeals, claims made at the employment tribunal, and also the ire of trade unions. The costs that employers would have wanted to save will be eroded by compensation plans if the process is not done within the confines of the applicable laws and the rights of employees protected.
Another significant legal quagmire remains who is legally responsible for the actions of a computerized worker? Employers are vicariously liable for the actions of their human workforce during work hours, but the law is silent on who is responsible for the actions of a computerized system. Robots are not legal persons, so they have no legal responsibilities. Situations can occur where an automated machine can malfunction and cause losses, for example, a self-driving car causing an accident. Bots have been used to access the dark web and buy illegal products. For an AI machine to have any legal responsibility, it will need to have a physical, legal, and digital identity. This means the computer will have to be a legal person.
The problem of legislation with regards to AI stems from the fact that we cannot define what constitutes it. There is no legal definition of AI. Without a precise description, it is difficult to legislate. Another issue would be who is responsible for the actions of the AI, the developer or the user. It is difficult to foresee problems that may arise with AI because its makers intend for the machines to learn and gain their understanding of the environment. An example is Google's, Chatbot Tay. The bot started to post offensive and inflammatory information through its Twitter account after interacting with humans. The intended purpose was a bot that associated with other Twitter users, but after machine learning the bot tweets became controversial. Artificial intelligence raises serious legal issues that need to be addressed. To understand the legal uncertainties and perils brought about by AI, there is the need to evaluate the correlation between it and the existing legislation.
Ethical Questions in AI Application
Ethical questions about the societal impact of AI are on the rise. Tech leaders like Elon Musk and Bill Gates have made pronouncements that have further raised concerns about the effects that AI can have on the society. They believe that advancement in AI technology can be a threat to the existence of the human race. With the use of AI in driving, health, trading and running essential services like the power grid it is critical to evaluate its impact on society. Another area of concern is the use of AI in weapons development.
Experts in the field of AI believe that a super-intelligent machine will lack human emotions like love or hate. This fact raises two risk issues; the first one is that an AI can be developed specifically to cause harm. Also, an AI can develop negative attributes over time if humans fail to align the machines’ goals with our own. The use of AI in weapon development is dangerous if the technology falls into the wrong hands. Hackers can access a weaponized system and cause harm. Self-driving cars can also be hacked. This can be used to assassinate or hold victims in a hostage situation. Bots can also be designed for a good purpose but develop negative attributes over time, like Google's Chatbot Tay.
The central ethical issue in AI is that of control. To what extent do we intend to advance AI technology? Do we need bots that are smarter than us and that operate autonomously? Our ethical understanding of AI is still raw because the concept of AI is new - not over 60 years old. The idea is also developing at a fast rate, and humans are always playing catch up with new advancements.
Arguments For and Against AI Using Real-Life Cases
Ashley Madison Litigation
In the Ashley Madison case, there was a security breach where the details of members of the infidelity dating website were made public by hackers. The site also used bots to mimic female users to attract a large number of males to make purchases on the Ashley Madison website. This lawsuit shows the use of artificial intelligence in a manner that is wrong and unethical. The use of AI to get information from members that were later hacked and publicized led to severe social disruptions. Broken families and divorces occurred when member’s details were leaked. The fact that the members were married individuals that were using a website that was promoting infidelity was bound to raise issues. The above case is a testament to the fact that AI can have harmful consequences if used for the wrong purposes.
Big Data, AI and Machine Learning
The amount of data being released daily is a lot. We are at the age of Big Data where we can collect a lot of information. AI enables us to disseminate and make sense of the big data that is around. It would be difficult for humans to process this vast data and make any sense of it. AI is already being applied in industries such as banking, marketing, sales, and entertainment to sort through data and come up with useful information that companies can use to align their objectives with the needs of the consumer.
Artificial intelligence will change the way we work and live our lives. One of the areas that AI has dramatically influenced is the job market. The debate is on whether the benefits of automation will outweigh the costs of automation. A large number of jobs will be automated soon causing massive job losses. New jobs will also be created through automation and employers will save on costs and therefore create additional wealth. The uncertainty surrounding the concept of automation has led to a situation where the legal framework, mostly on employment and AI is weak. There is, therefore, a need to better understand the impact of AI on the job market to develop the appropriate legal framework to deal with AI.
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