Consultant, Rachel Sim looks at the some of the latest concerns surrounding the ongoing advancements of artificial intelligence. How will it affect the workforce, and will the benefits outweigh the risks?
Concerning headlines have been prominent across major news platforms recently, with the BBC claiming “Artificial intelligence could lead to extinction”. Industry experts, including the Heads of OpenAI and Google Deepmind, have validated these concerns. Risks have been reported of AI being weaponised, generating misinformation or biased information, invading privacy, causing physical harm, and sparking legal controversy.
Despite this, Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has stated that “AI has an incredible potential to transform our lives for the better, but we need to make sure it is developed and used in a way that is safe and secure”.
Concerns are evident, with the UK Government announcing they will host the first global AI ‘safety measure’ summit later this year. The summit is set to evaluate the risks and safety concerns of AI and how the Government will regulate the technology. The safety summit will connect leaders and industry experts from across the globe, giving technical experts, politicians and leaders a platform to debate potential approaches to AI use.
Despite the risks, there are a huge amount of benefits and uses for AI; reducing human error, automating repetitive tasks, enabling the management of large amounts of information, supporting decision making, and increasing efficiency and output in the workplace for a variety of industries.
The implications for the healthcare sector are monumental. AI can be utilised to support research of the early detection of diseases, diagnosis and treatment, therefore supporting health and the lifespan of humans: quite a contradiction to the BBC’s headlines of extinction. However, overreliance on AI and automation may be detrimental to humanity as human skills, knowledge and development become compromised in exchange for technical advancements.
How AI will affect the workforce and the recruitment of talent
When it comes to recruitment and developing technical teams, AI can be utilised to support recruitment efforts. AI tools are being developed to review CVs, conduct online interviews, and identify and target potential candidates, which can save time and resources for hiring managers or recruiters. However, AI may be less effective at measuring soft skills and organisational fit; and most importantly, utilising technology to conduct recruitment processes can minimise the emotional and personal connection usually developed during a recruitment process. People are often interested in an organisation because of the product, service or reputation they have, but it is the team and personal relationships built during a recruitment process that can make the difference between someone accepting a job offer or not.
Automation in the workplace is sparking concerns of redundancies and permanently destroying jobs should technology become more advanced than humans. Professor Yann LeCun (Winner of the 2018 Turing Award and Chief AI Scientist at Meta), has disagreed that the advancement of technology will be detrimental to humans. Technology has been developing rapidly since the early 1950s and there were concerns then about the safety of air travel, television, ATMs and the internet yet these technologies are now commonplace and essential to our modern day way of life.
LeCun has stated there is “no question” that AI will surpass human intelligence. However, he doesn’t believe this to necessarily be a bad thing. He says AI will not result in people being permanently out of work, instead there will be a shift in the labor force into new careers – ones that don’t even exist yet.
Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
Whether you are for or against the development of Artificial Intelligence, it’s indisputable that AI will impact every industry and job function in the coming years. With arguments both for and against the development of AI, the question becomes, ‘do the benefits outweigh the risks?’.
We are still a long way from AI surpassing human abilities and ultimately, we are entirely responsible for the extent to which we develop AI. Regulation will be vital to ensuring AI is developed in a safe and sustainable manner. The European Union is in the process of developing the ‘Artificial Intelligence Act’, which would set rules and regulations controlling development and uses of AI. However, global adoption and collaboration of regulations will be essential for responsible development.
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