ITGS Syllabus

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Topic 177

ethical issues of various applications of AI, for example, replacement of human workers, handing decision-making tasks to a computer by Isaku Oba

There have been many discussions done regarding the future application of artificial intelligence. It is true that the actual introduction of A.I will become a controversial one, and that it will receive much criticism for various reasons. This is because some consider the A.I to be an unethical system. For one, the A.I can replace humans in jobs at many areas, considering that the A.I uses mechanical procedures for work.

The A.I will be able to do reliable and efficient quality work, making it superior to the work of humans who make mistakes often. Also one A.I can do the take on multiple tasks at once, making it a much more economical employee. The jobs with which the A.I will replace will include jobs that include theoretical and mathematical procedures, such as computer operators, programmers, accountants etc. The demand for human labor will obviously drop drastically, resulting in many jobless citizens wandering around. As terrible as this may seem, there are some views that consider this situation something unavoidable.

The dramatic increase of the human population in the last century has resulted in the increasing rate in the destruction of the earth’s environment. If the human population continues to increase, so will the rate at which we exploit the earth which means pretty soon the earth will come to a point where it will not last. One possible solution to this problem is to decrease the number of humans, and the A.I might be the solution to this problem. If the A.I is brought to use, the jobs available for humans will not be enough which might ultimately force the number of the human population to decrease.

Another reason that the A.I is resented by humans is its roles that it plays in S.F novels. In these novels, the A.I has the ability to think and learn like human beings, and its superior brain power becomes a threat to mankind after the A.I malfunctions turns against its creators. Considering that the A.I is considered a duplication of the human brain, it is reasonable that the A.I might turn against its creators.

But in real life, the A.I is not likely to become a copy of the human mind. It is not likely that the researchers will include concepts of the human brain such as its ego, or emotions which will not do any good to help assist humans. After all the A.I is only a tool, and it would not make sense for a tool to have unnecessary functions which could pose a threat towards its creators. Therefore it would be nothing but pure paranoia to think that the A.I would grow to a point where it will rebel against the humans.

The last reason is sort of a more frequently discussed one. This is because a similar problem exists with the technology of cloning. This reason is the dehumanization of war. Presently the military of developed countries are thinking of two next generation soldiers which will minimize their casualties. The first is the use of clone soldiers using copies of existing humans to fight instead of real humans. This technology is based on the ethical value that clone humans are not humans, but tools created by humans.

The second is a mechanical soldier equipped with an A.I. This will allow the existence of an army totally absent of humans, which the thinks will make war a more humane process. However, these two next generation soldiers both hold the same kind of problems. The use of non-human soldiers in battlefield will provide a justification for countries to pursue war with ease, making war a much less opposed conduct. Also, if war is to be conducted with out the pain of humans and physical loss, it will transform into a more game like procedure, in which less is learned by the experience of it.

Overall, the A.I is a technology which shows great promises in guiding the humans to the next age, but we must not rush in trying to create it as there are crucial problems regarding it that must be dealt with prior to its ues.


Ethical issues of various applications of AI, for example, replacement of human workers, handing decision-making tasks to a computer by Marek

Robotics and Morality

Morals and profit are not two things that usually go hand in hand when associated with the hard world of business transactions. More often than not, companies choose monetary gains over moral values, and because of this, humanity has both benefited and suffered greatly.

Many firms have questioned whether they should retain their human workers, or let the quicker, more efficient robot workers/computers take over the management section. Both have their pros and cons. But which one would lead to a better, stronger company?

The advantages of having a computer-controlled manager is obvious. First off, the company would have a reliable worker that never took sick days, could work twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and always made the most efficient, cost cutting decision without letting personal emotions cloud its judgment. At first glance, it seems like the right choice, but there are several factors that weigh against an artificial manager.

On of the first things would be that the moral of the company’s workers would be at an all time low. It would be extremely degrading for a person, who prided themselves on being a loyal and skilled worker, to have to take orders from a machine, who has little or no idea of what they have to do to keep the firm active and running.

They would feel misunderstood, ignored, and maybe even angry at how they are being treated. This will detract from their job performance, and in the end, lower their efficiency. After all, how could a twisted amalgamation of steel, silicon and computer chips possibly comprehend what the average worker has to go through everyday? These mutinous feelings will lead to lowered performance, latent anguish, and maybe even incidents of outright disobedience. Because of their inability to feel, computers help destroy a company.

On the other hand, a talented manager knows exactly what to say and do to get his laborers in a frenzy of work, utilizing incentives, and select words of praise to keep them going long into the night. He will understand what kind of troubles they are facing, and will attempt to help them by making them feel like part of the “team”. A human manger could identify what kind of problems the employee was facing, and through his or her understanding and compassion, could potentially cause the employee to be happier about his or her work, and make them work harder as a form of compensation for their boss.

However, human managers have always had their flaws, namely that of emotions.

Understanding can be misinterpreted as excessive leniency, which in turn gives the employees the belief that they are allowed to “slack off” from working. Grudges harbored against stubborn workers, and irrational dislike can also amount to a loss in efficiency during work, as both people spend time they could be working on pondering how they can get their own back on that particular individual. As ridiculous as it may sound, these petty vendettas can get in the way of getting some real work done, and therefore do affect how we work.

Overall, this is a very difficult question to answer. To have a purely professional army of robots to build and maintain the company, would be absolutely impossible, in this day and age. It seems ironic that the very qualities that make us human and the ones that keep us going in the business world today.


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