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Curiosity killed the cat, now it’s going to kill the humans: an outrage over AI uprising

Curiosity killed the cat, now it’s going to kill the humans: an outrage over AI uprising

Curiosity is the stepping stone of humanity. When the first of our kind walked the Earth, only the wild and the wilderness surrounded them. Our ancestors survived because of the curiosity ingrained in their DNA. Curiosity became their holy grail, for today we stand in a building made with modern equipment as we work on our little devices, connecting with friends and family globally, who flew in a metal bird across the vast oceans. And now, we also have artificial intelligence or AI spreading like wildfire. Sounds absurd at times, almost impossible, doesn’t it? But here we are. Living the reality!

We conquered the impossible and yet, the curiosity of humankind is far from quenched. We may easily present an argument that the thirst for knowledge and new conquests has only amplified with growing technology. As we hoist our flags on the Moon and Mars, it is the universe that we wish to conquer now. But what degree of curiosity is healthy until it starts nibbling on the rear end?

For many decades now, society has divided geniuses into three groups. The first group is pro-science. Ready to fiddle with the technology at warp speed, waiting for no time and tide as they birth new technological advances. The second group is the one people often laugh at. We call them conspiracy theorists. They believe certain things have already happened, and we are already paying the price of fiddling with things that would have been better left alone. Alien invasion, for example. The third one is an interesting bunch, for they are capable of great things, but they believe in pacing themselves from time to time to address the dangers of discoveries and inventions. By no degree am I the genius capable of achieving the greatness of the likes of Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking, but I do believe that we need to take a step back before we chart the course ahead. There is always a line that humanity must not cross, and I am afraid with the current events, we might soon be at the point of no return. I speak of course of the latest, most talked about creation — ChatGPT! (and AI in general)

 As a writer, when I got a mail from a company asking me to join their editorial team, just to help AI in clarifying a few random errors, I was deeply offended. The goal was to educate the AI to not repeat those errors. There was a time when the likes of Mirza Ghalib and William Shakespeare wrote beautiful verses and sonnets. Now we are reduced to reading and watching drama and love stories written down to smaller details by unfeeling machinery. The human insight of marketing and sales also means nothing, for all the cut-and-dried data points are available to the machinery from past studies and that’s enough to make ripples in the advertising industry. All so because now ads are also being run on platforms governed by algorithms that are friendly with the AI bots creating the campaigns.

It would have been okay if things ended here. But this is just the beginning. There is now AI taking restaurant orders, building websites, designing architectural infrastructure, crunching numbers, cross referencing data, writing research papers, and even delivering news on privately run news channels. There are even bots modelling in fashion shows, creating unique dress designs, printing an entire dress on a model in a matter of minutes, and making intricate and meticulous artistic work obsolete. At the time I started writing, there has already been new development and now AI can allegedly read human minds.

According to surveys, nearly 14 million jobs shall become obsolete in the next 5 years and where does that take the oldest and biggest problem of humankind – unemployment? From Nigerian Prince to Immigration scams, unemployment has already paved the way to more sophisticated crimes.

We already had a self-driving car and Alexa running a household. At what point does the absurdity stop? Because from the looks of it, if algorithms over the internet perform everything that requires a heart and a brain, then the point of humanity is moot.

There is a website that runs facial recognition and can retrieve every picture of a person ever uploaded along with their doppelgangers in a matter of minutes, it’s easy because the internet never forgets. Just the thought is enough to get the skin crawling, isn’t it? There’s more!

Recently, someone commanded AI to do something unthinkable, giving birth to ChaosGPT. The bot went ahead and tweeted its plans of destruction and chaos to overcome the weak species, that is humans. Although there have been incidents of ChatGPT failing top-class exams, it only learns from failures and keeps updating the database because, unlike humans, the bots have an endless capacity to memorise and store data.

When the news of AI being used for various purposes started grabbing attention, I read a listicle of all the jobs that are threatened by the uprising of AI. It said that everyone with bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees are in great danger of losing their jobs because AI can perform those tasks faster, more efficiently, and without much error. If that weren’t stressful enough, AI can now detect a person’s voice and determine if they are applying for a fake sick leave. It’s only been a year or so since the world was talking about mental health during the lockdown, yet here we are, suddenly expecting a human being to work 365x24x7. Some leap towards a better work environment, isn’t it? The list of jobs that are assuredly safe, included construction, maintenance, and everything that requires human labour. Does that remind you of something? It reminded me of the story of building the great Pyramids.

The kings, like gods, sat in their golden thrones, enjoying the fine things in life while the slaves starved and worked till it was time for them to die of exhaustion. As we develop better AI, it seems we are enslaving ourselves to these machines without whom we would not be able to function at one point. We wouldn’t know how. Isn’t that what the history pages are filled with — lessons that history repeats itself? We have received several warnings of the consequences of meddling with technology to the point that it takes over humanity, yet, curiosity continues to drive our efforts, marching ahead. Despite the warning signs, we keep on pushing the technology to a breaking point.

There already exists an article in the news that AI might be building its own new religion soon and if that doesn’t end the world in chaos and causes the biggest religious war ever, nothing shall come close.

Minds of whimsical, artistic, and creative sensibilities have warned us about technology through their creations like the Netflix show Black Mirror. A recent movie M3G4N (Megan) was a classic example of a very real possibility of what might happen if AI is allowed to call the shots. If that was not enough for an eye-opener, soon after the ChatGPT domination, technology and world leaders came together to curate an open letter warning and requesting the probing minds to take a step back while there’s still time.

Unlike the common man, the cream of the crop has resources that show the dangers of the future much more clearly at an early stage. In the current geopolitical scenario, it is already difficult to understand right from wrong as media and social media dominate and manipulate many of us into believing their side of the story, without presenting most of the facts. The godfather of AI, Geoffrey Hinton has quit Google, warned of danger ahead and I quote, said, “We need to take a step back.” Adding AI to the existing mixture of confusion, propaganda, and misinformation with its ability to manipulate humans shall result in unimaginable chaos.

I must also say that AI has been extremely helpful in many cases. One news report revealed that AI detected breast cancer approximately four years prior to its occurrence. That is a great use of AI. Technology is a boon only when we deploy it to aid the cause of humanity and not replace it.

The minute we give control to technology, it shall stop at nothing to take control, for it possesses no soul. On the contrary, as humans, we have a unique ability to control our urges. Whether we continue to poke and prod till the end of humans, as we know it is imminent, or we stop and recalibrate our approach to further our cause will decide if curiosity kills the humans like it killed the cats. After all, the survival of another generation and many more to come in a non-hostile environment is in our hands, right now!

Article by: Gauri D.

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