7 Benefits of AI That Will Help Humanity, Not Harm It

Let's dissipate the anxiety around AI and focus on what good it can bring us. This article explores how AI is driving growth in many crucial industries. Read on!
Kashyap Vyas
AI and a human touching each other's fingertips
AI and a human touching each other's fingertipsselimaksan/iStock

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an intriguing concept, and innovations in the field are growing by leaps and bounds. The implications of AI — both positive and negative — have fascinated experts and amateurs alike for many years, but there are some great benefits of artificial intelligence that are perhaps not frequently considered.

Digital technology has been developing at breakneck speed over the last few decades. Most of us have significantly more technological power in our pockets than in our homes in the 90s.

There have also been significant breakthroughs in machine learning and deep learning. These concepts have allowed machines to process and analyze information and, in some cases, to learn for themselves very sophisticatedly.

Thanks to these developments in AI technology, machines can now learn to perform complex functions such as facial recognition.

7 Benefits of AI That Will Help Humanity, Not Harm It

That being said, there has been significant debate regarding the risks artificial intelligence poses to humanity, including concerns that AI can be misused or may take over humanity. For example, movies like The Terminator, Westworld, and Saturn depict grim pictures of killer robots.

Fears of the potentially darker side of AI are one thing, but they are balanced by some potential benefits that AI and ML could deliver. Here are some of the most notable examples. 

1. AI has and will continue to enhance automation

7 Benefits of AI That Will Help Humanity, Not Harm It
Source: KUKA Roboter GmbH, Bachmann/Wikimedia

Today, AI-augmented robots can easily perform various automated tasks, both inside and outside the factory, without the need for constant human intervention. AI is poised to be a transformative technology for some applications and tasks across a vast suite of industries.

Machine learning, deep learning, and other AI technologies are already being used to reduce human workloads in assembly, packaging, customer service, and HR, among other areas, and the move has reduced operational and employee costs substantially.

An example of AI's inexhaustible capacity to enhance the level of automation can be seen in the Japanese machine tool builder, Okuma. In 2018, Okuma highlighted many innovations to showcase the future of smart manufacturing.

This includes robots for plants of all sizes, new and improved machine tools, and smart machine tools. Such examples clearly demonstrate the potential of AI for future work in the industry. 

We may also see AI and robots working alongside human operatives. Robotic coworkers or Cobots will assist, rather than fully replace human workers, and improve the overall efficiency and general happiness of humans in the workplace.

Companies like Amazon already benefit from this kind of working relationship between us and the machines. 

2. AI can help eliminate the necessity for humans to perform tedious tasks

7 Benefits of AI That Will Help Humanity, Not Harm It
Source: Chiragjain dr/Wikimedia

One of the main benefits of artificial intelligence is its ability to reduce the drudgery involved in many work tasks. Repetitive, tedious tasks in any job are the bane of many human workers. While monotony may result in human perfection, computer automation remains the best and cheapest option for monotonous tasks.  

Machines excel when executing standardized processing work like data entry, freeing up human operatives to concentrate on the more creative and interpersonal aspects of their jobs or lives. For example, financial institutions today take full advantage of AI to make banking quicker and easier for consumers. With AI at the helm of simple and repetitive tasks, financial workers can focus on the tedious aspects of their job.

The 2019 MIT SMR-BCG Artificial Intelligence Global Executive Study and Research Report reveals that the early AI adopters and winners focus on organization-wide alignment with AI, integration, and investment. 45% of the study's respondents recognize that one of the dangers of AI is the fact that the competition can easily utilize the tool to drive efficiency. 47% of the respondents strongly agreed that employees will have the space and time to think creatively and drive the business goals while AI does the heavy and repetitive lifting.

 3. Improving weather forecasting is another way AI can benefit humans

7 Benefits of AI That Will Help Humanity, Not Harm It
Source: Brian Sloat/Flickr

Weather forecasting is highly complex and needs computing and deep-learning networks to sift through and analyze large data sets infinitely faster than humans ever could. 

In the past few years, we have seen artificial intelligence and its associated technologies used in weather and climate forecasting. Climate Informatics, for example, enables greater collaboration between data scientists and climate scientists.

There are countless applications of AI aimed at accurate weather forecasting. IBM, for instance, used its computers to improve its forecasts as early as the mid-1990s.

4. Next-generation disaster response is another reason why AI is good

7 Benefits of AI That Will Help Humanity, Not Harm It
Source: RoboCup2013/Flickr

2017 California wildfires led to the burning of more than 1 million acres of land. 46 people lost their lives to the devastation, and hundreds of homes were reportedly burnt to the ground. The large-scale wildfires in Australia between 2019 and 2020 also caused severe damage and loss of life. 

Due to the increasing threats of extreme weather events like these, more and more government authorities and organizations are embracing artificial intelligence to help fight these disasters with algorithms and satellite data. 

AI has demonstrated its utility in building smart disaster responses and providing real-time data on disasters and weather events. With AI, governments save valuable time and enable disaster response in a more targeted and efficient manner. Once sophisticated enough, it may be able to offer early and crucial warnings that will save lives. 

5. AI could fight alongside humans in battles

7 Benefits of AI That Will Help Humanity, Not Harm It
Source: Program Executive Office Soldier/Flickr

It is a common trope that AI will one day be the end of humanity because robots and machines will deskill, destroy, or enslave us all. However, robots may just be the ultimate human companions in war. AI shows immense promise as a potential application in war, as stipulated in Paul Scharre’s book “Army of None.”

According to Scharre, militaries and machine intelligence are expected to work in tandem to conduct wars. This would likely mean AI and robots taking on the more dangerous roles in combat instead of putting human beings in the literal firing line. Needless to say, there are some very serious ethical issues to work out first before we give AI the ability to potentially take life. 

But AI could help save human lives in other areas like disaster rescue situations. We may, one day, see AI-powered firefighters or assist first responders in locatingsaving and save lives during environmental or industrial catastrophes. 

6. AI is on-call all the time

7 Benefits of AI That Will Help Humanity, Not Harm It
Source: JulyYu/Flickr

AI never sleeps. Rather than an ominous statement, this is actually potentially very beneficial to us all. 

Humans need to eat, sleep and rest; machines and AI do not. So long as it has a supply of electricity, In theory, AI can work all the time, for eternity. 

This will reduce errors, maintain critical services, and enable businesses and other organizations to provide services their users rely on (like helplines, etc.). For educational and research institutions, this could lead to some breakthroughs in future discoveries that could have wide-ranging benefits for us all. 

7. AI could create new jobs!

7 Benefits of AI That Will Help Humanity, Not Harm It
Source: Anthony Topper/Flickr

While there are some very real concerns about the potential to eliminate or make some types of jobs redundant, AI could also open entirely new areas of work. Applying AI in businesses will also force the job market to evolve, which, with the right preparation, could be a very good thing. 

From various maintenance and supporting roles, to entirely new careers not yet dreamed of, the widespread adoption of AI could be a brighter future for all of us. And we've been here before.

Similar fears to those around AI have surfaced around most new forms of technology. Sometimes, the fears are well-founded, and sometimes not, but the genie of new technology cannot be put back in the bottle. All we can do is learn how to use it wisely and to our advantage. 

And that is your lot for today. 

While there are some genuine concerns around its development, AI could be the best thing since sliced bread is adopted properly.

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