10 April 2024

The AI Revolution: Saviour or Saboteur?

Navigating the pros and cons of artificial intelligence for today and tomorrow.

With so many alarmist articles shouting about job losses and deep fake scams, combined with celebratory announcements of ground-breaking medical and technological advancements - you would be forgiven for being overwhelmed and confused about whether AI is here to help or hinder our existence.

Friend or Foe?

AI is nothing new; it’s been around for some time, but Open AI is still relatively cutting-edge to most and it’s moving at lightning speed. While governments worldwide look at how they can regulate the tech to avoid privacy breaches and the many risks associated with Open AI, organisations are looking at how they can harness AI’s magic abilities and integrate them into their everyday operations to save money and create efficiencies.

The tech industry may be one of the biggest in feeling AI’s full effect alongside medical and health. As Forbes Magazine shared in their Tech Industry Predictions for 2024 article, developers will rely on AI to generate code or design-to-code conversion to improve and enhance apps while harnessing the power of edge computing infrastructure capabilities to accelerate UX.

Like anything ever invented since human beings began to create - AI has the potential to enhance our way of life, opening new and exciting opportunities, creating efficiencies and offering solutions we may never have considered while providing a more equitable world for all. But it must be used honestly and respectfully with a healthy amount of human oversight and regulation to ensure we use it for good, not evil.

We’ve taken a look from every angle and whittled down our top five benefits and pitfalls of AI and what it could mean for you and your business.

How can AI help:

  1. Increased Efficiency: As we know, time is money, so off-loading mundane, repetitive tasks to AI, making our time available for more creative endeavours and complex human problem solving - not to mention the increased efficiency and cost saving that comes along with it makes integrating AI a definite pro!

  2. Data Analysis: AI can search and process vast amounts of Data at speeds far beyond human capability. This makes AI invaluable in healthcare. AI algorithms can sift through patient records, identifying trends and potential diagnoses, leading to more accurate and timely preventative treatment - no more ambulances at the bottom of the cliff.

  3. Personalisation: While you might have been personalising your newsletters and mapping your customer journeys on your website for years, AI can analyse behaviour and preferences to provide personalised recommendations and experiences. From tailored marketing to serving up your perfect watchlist on your streaming platform, AI enhances user satisfaction and engagement, delivering content tailored to your unique tastes.

  4. Predictive Analytics: AI’s predictive capabilities give organisations the foresight to anticipate future trends while making data-driven decisions. In finance, AI can analyse market data to predict stock trends, while predictive maintenance systems use AI to forecast equipment failures in manufacturing, reducing downtime and costs.

  5. Innovation: AI helps foster innovation, developing new products and services that previously may have seemed impossible or impractical. AI-powered technologies like self-driving cars and virtual assistants continue pushing the boundaries of achievable goals, driving progress and economic growth.

How AI could hinder:

  1. Bias and Fairness: AI algorithms are only as impartial as the data they are trained on. The AI system may perpetuate or exacerbate existing inequalities if the training data contains biases. Biased algorithms could perpetuate gender or racial discrimination, leading to unfair outcomes.

  2. Privacy Concerns: The widespread and unregulated adoption of AI raises concerns about personal data privacy. AI algorithms can rely on vast amounts of user data to operate effectively, raising questions about who has access to it and how they use it. Unauthorised access or misuse of personal data could lead to privacy breaches and infringe individual rights. Including malicious use such as deepfake images for fraudulent activities or misinformation.

  3. Job Displacement: While AI can enhance productivity and efficiency, it also has the potential to automate many tasks currently being managed by humans. Governments and organisations must reskill and upskill workers to mitigate adverse effects and avoid unemployment and socioeconomic disparities.

  4. Lack of Transparency: AI algorithms are often complex and opaque, making it difficult to understand how they arrive at their decisions. This lack of transparency can lead to distrust in the AI systems – especially in critical applications like healthcare or criminal justice. There is also the threat of plagiarism in art and culture, with many industries demanding protection against AI that may mimic their likeness or artists and photographers whose imagery is being manipulated and used for marketing purposes without regard for copyright or financial recognition.

  5. Over-reliance on AI: Relying too heavily on AI without human insight can lead to errors and unintended consequences. AI systems are not infallible and may struggle in unpredictable or unfamiliar situations.

Like the DPD customer service chatbot that started swearing at customers and badmouthing the company, it was designed to work for. Without human oversight and intervention, AI has the potential to operate unethically and in an unsafe (not to mention off-brand) manner.

Even though a recent Google employee was adamant that the AI he helped develop had become sentient, most experts agree that AI will not be able to replace the creativity and empathy of humans. The workforce skills required are already shifting from task-driven to emotional, with The World Economic Forum listing integrity at the top of the list of ‘soft skills’ employers are looking for in their staff. With access to so much more quickly, we must think of our AI-enhanced world's impact on everyone living in it. Just because you can use an AI-enhanced image of that famous actress for free or copy their voice for your brand ad, should you? Integrity would suggest no.

So, how will you use AI in your business to create a better tomorrow?

Further reading that may interest you:






Note: This article was written and photo sourced with the help of AI