AI, a Tool with Wonderful Potential
by Christopher McGrath
Think about a hammer. Think about what a hammer does. Think about how it’s used. Hammers help us build houses for warmth and shelter, nearly all of us would say hammers are a good thing. But this is incorrect, a hammer is just a tool. Using it to help build a home is what is good.
Tools are a cornerstone of mankind, we use them to shape the world. As our tools grew more sophisticated, their impact on our lives became more complex. The internet allows us to reach across the world in seconds, it satisfies our curiosity, shares knowledge, connects us to people we would have otherwise never met, it helps us plan trips, pay bills, satisfies our indulgences, feeds us opinions and lies masked as truth, helps us do things quicker, and yet consumes our time and money. One tool, a spectrum of consequences.
The internet has been a powerful tool shaping our world for decades, but we are still learning to grasp its full impact. This is the nature of things, innovation outpaces our retrospective. Innovation is an unstable, beautiful necessity. But I wonder if we approach her with the respect she deserves. ‘What can we do’ drives us more than ‘what should we do.’
Artificial Intelligence hasn’t arrived, it’s here, and it will impact the world in a big way. AI is a baby with wonderful potential and it is ready to be shaped by the choices and innovations we make. AI can be a good thing, a very good thing.
AI can help us transform the healthcare industry, leading to more objective and accurate diagnoses, or it can automate mundane tasks that need be monitored and operate on a 24/7 basis, or automate the gear shifts on your bicycle. Let’s pause, do we really need that last one? Wouldn’t that take the fun, challenge, and adventure out of bicycling if your bike did some of the work for you?
And that’s really the point, AI can be applied to a lot of things. But just because it can, doesn’t mean it should. There’s a difference between “wouldn’t it be cool if…” and “we need to improve…” Artificial Intelligence is taking our understanding and application of mathematics to the next level. It’s nothing to be scared of, but it absolutely requires our respect and appreciation. With AI, let’s go beyond what would be cool and neat....let’s truly think about how we can take the next leap in improving our world.