TECH TALK: New apps are increasingly penetrating aspects of our every day life, says BILL MAGEE
“Man is Never Ready for the Things He Invents” – Sci-Fi author and screenwriter Ray Bradbury “The Veldt”
Soon the trusty smartphone will be equipped with an artificial intelligent-powered app dedicated to analysing our everyday anxieties. Let’s hope that includes the one concerning artificial intelligence. The transformative power of AI behind cloud-based solutions and services has well proved its digital worth to any ambitious company, providing proper consideration and planning is carried out.
However, Forbes warns of a growing apprehension of AI falling into the wrong hands. Website www.sciencedirect.com cites what has become known as “AI-phobia” and calls for a thorough investigation into “limitations” in its rollout.
The worry is AI is being foisted on us at an alarming rate and there’s nothing we mere humans can do to stop its technological advance. Also, that it is nothing more than spyware under another guise.
It’s the stuff of science fiction movies. Read robots and scary scripts emphasising how their superior intelligence is primed to go rogue, taking over the planet at any moment.
Back in the real-world. Tech moguls Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and legendary physicist the late Stephen Hawking, each expressed concern that society could be irreparably damaged as computers increasingly replace human decision-making.
There are calls for more concentration on “robo-ethics”, designing AI systems endowed with a code of conduct and ethical framework that holds, above all else, the health and wellbeing of humans.
It is predicted that this year one-in-five workers will be engaged in tasks that rely on AI to do their job. This doesn’t include the innumerable solo robotic manufacturing functions operating in the likes of the automotive and aerospace industries.
Gates and Musk may have very well uttered genuine concerns, as they pocketed their billions (the latter planning to spend some loose change buying Twitter). It’s not necessarily borne out by the actions of the tech monoliths they created.
Microsoft and Tesla each plough billions annually into a relentless search for the next game-changing product, market data portal www.statista.com reminds us. There are massive commercial pickings to be had in what is a fiercely competitive global marketplace.
The smartphone market alone is a £300 billion global industry and Big Tech is uber-busy accelerating the latest AI-app research available into the humble phone. One study claims 90% accuracy into probing an individual’s mindset.
It comes as a privacy report by www.atlasvpn.com highlights iPhone led a surge in Apple products’ “vulnerabilities” by 467% in 2021 compared with the previous year.
Of wider concern is how technology monitors our lives. Best-selling author and futurist Bernard Marr (“Business Trends in Practice: The 25+ Trends That Are Redefining Organisations”) prefers the term “infiltration”, extending his warning to the likes of Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri voice assistants in the digital mix.
According to www.pocket-lint.com this leads to increased anxiety over whether such electronic gadgets, in whatever shape and form, are to be trusted.
A mental health survey by wellbeingtrust.org reports that we are increasingly turning to blogs, podcasts and videos for help with depression and our inability to switch off from electronic gadgets.
Ironically, our search for answers involves increased amounts of screen time.
It’s evident much more needs to be done to tackle potential side effects. Ultimately, it must be all about finding a digital balance in one’s life.