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Combat the Fear-Filled Future of Artificial Intelligence

There are a four main objections to true artificial intelligence. The first is a religious or technical argument that believes thinking and consciousness are inherently a part of the human soul. Because intelligent machines do not have a soul, they cannot think. If they cannot think, they cannot have consciousness. Therefore artificial intelligence cannot be.

The second argument is one based largely in fear. The humanist argument believes that the consequences for sentient machines would be catastrophic for the human race. Whether clones would take over the world, or artificial machines would devalue human intelligence, humanists see the potential risks as too great to leave to chance. However, there is little evidence (beyond science fiction) that points to this as a reality.

The third objection to artificial intelligence is based in the idea that too much of our society relies on learned, ambiguous, informal rules that cannot be programmed. These objectors believe that machines won’t be able to learn or comprehend the gray areas where most action exists.

The last argument is based on the presumption that machines cannot achieve consciousness because consciousness equals emotional intelligence. While they don’t necessarily say that machines will never be able to achieve consciousness, they do believe that it cannot be considered conscious until it has thoughts and feelings that drive action.

The benefits of AI to society

Our rudimentary artificial intelligence of today is already drastically improving the society we live in. It uses predictive models, real-time data analysis and machine-learning to create accurate, reliable models by which professionals can better take care of patients, fight crime, educate children, crack down on human trafficking and stop deforestation just to name a few. For a full list of the social impacts of artificial intelligence, check out this report by the Center for Data Innovation. The following societal benefits have been taken from the Data Innovation report.

Automating a Microscope to Diagnose Malaria

“An automated microscope called Autoscope uses an artificial neural network to rapidly analyze blood samples in the field and diagnose malaria with 90 percent accuracy. Traditional rapid diagnostic methods can only determine if the malaria parasite is present in a blood sample, which does not necessarily mean a person will contract the disease. Autoscope can differentiate between specific particles in a blood sample to quantify the number of malaria parasites to determine if a diagnosis is warranted.”

Pinpointing Gunshots to Fight Crime

“Several cities in the United States have installed a gunshot-detecting system called ShotSpotter that uses networked audio sensors dispersed through city blocks and machine learning to automatically identify the audio signatures of gunshots and report their location to police with high degrees of accuracy. ShotSpotter’s algorithms can differentiate between gunshots and other similar noises, such as a car backfiring, triangulate the origin of a gunshot, determine if multiple firearms were involved, and identify the direction a shooter was traveling in.”

Predicting Which Students Will Drop Out

“The Tacoma, Washington, school district worked with Microsoft to develop a machine-learning model that can analyze student data, such as demographics and academic performance, and historical data to predict which students were at risk of dropping out and prompt early intervention. After a multiyear pilot of the system, the Tacoma school district was able to boost its graduation rates from 55 percent in 2010 to 78 percent by 2014.”

Crack Down on Human Trafficking

“The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) Memex program has developed a tool that scans pages on the deep web—websites that are not indexed on search engines—and analyzes their contents for signs of illegal solicitations of sex, which are often linked with human trafficking, to aid investigations. Because pages on the deep web can be difficult to access and navigate, they can be attractive covers for criminal activity. With Memex, authorities can gain new insights into specific investigations as well as broad trends about human trafficking, such as by generating heat maps of regions with a high density of illegal solicitation.”

Stop Deforestation

“A start-up called Orbital Insight uses AI to analyze satellite imagery of forests over time to detect early warning signs of illegal logging that can prompt intervention before any trees are cut down. The system can flag changes that might go unnoticed by humans, such as new roads, which could indicate a new logging operation, as well as learn to identify changes that occur before major cutting to improve its warning system.”

The benefits of AI to your business

At a societal level, AI is already showing signs of dramatically improving the way we live. And it can have the same effect on the way you work. Right now, AI has significant impacts in your sales departments. It helps you create more personalized customer experiences, provides opportunities to retarget your potential customers and make your pipelines more efficient.

Personalized Customer Experiences

More often than not, consumers equate artificial intelligence with fake, detached and dehumanized technology. And it’s easy to fall into that trap. The AI of today (not science fiction) doesn’t have a face. It doesn’t look like a person. So we assume it doesn’t have personhood, and claim say it cannot enhance human connection. In reality, AI can create impactful personalized experiences for your customers more powerful than any of your human sales reps. It analyzes clusters and patterns more efficiently than any human could and feeds that consumer with exactly what they need to push them further down their sales journey.

Sales Retargeting

We’ve all seen the advertisements that seem to follow us throughout the web. Some find them annoying, others enticing. In a sales world, these ads are like gold. They are automated follow-ups that can’t be ignored. But retargeting doesn’t have stop at the normal online barriers anymore. As more and more brick-and-mortar stores are using CCTV footage to cut down on shoplifting, consumers’ in-store habits are also being tracked. Soon, you could start targeting your consumers online based on data you’ve pulled off of your stores CCTV.

Creating an Efficient Sales Process

Okay, I’ll give you this one is still a bit far-off for mass use, but the technology is there are companies want to get on the cutting edge of AI for business. Companies are integrating intelligent assistants like Siri and Alexa into their CRM to better help their sales representatives identify new opportunities. By asking consumers questions, intelligent assistants can scan through product listings to find that perfect product for your customer and move them through their sales journey quickly.

Like any new technology, AI has valid concerns keeping it from flourishing as quickly as some in computer science would like. However, there are some concerns that really should just be silenced. Cyborgs are not going to take over the world. Clones aren’t going to try to kill the human race. Leave science fiction to books and movies and let artificial intelligence have a chance to change our lives for the better.

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