Why Humans? Why, Humans?

By Yeongseo Lim

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Roaming around the city, they ruthlessly kill anything within their sight without a moment of hesitation. Not a single shot missed nor any bullet wasted. The twitching and clicking of the metal components echoes in the air while these silent devils complete their tasks. A single city conquered in just three hours, they move on… marching towards their next targeted city. These robots are nothing but evil itself.

This is a kind of story that would have put people into terror like how Isaac Asimov’s novels did in the 20th century. Although some people laugh at such overly pessimistic fantasy, factory workers in China, who were laid off from German sports goods maker ADIDAS may have had the equivalent sentiments expressed in Asimov’s novel. The company closed off a labour intensive factory and rebuilt a smart factory in Germany, claiming the reduction of the labor cost to one-tenth. However, such is one of many instances in which AI affects our daily life. Only focusing on this negative impact diminishes the potential of this newfound technology that can also enrich our lives so much…

People fear the unknown. Whenever new technology was introduced, voices of concerns filled the society, which eventually turned out to be false. For example, the invention of the ATM not only created more jobs for the people, but the integration of machine and human workforces has led to better service for customers. The implementation of steam engines in the textile industry in the 19th century increased productivity and customer services, leading to Industrial revolution. The adaptation of AI, in the same way, would bring enormous changes as to how we conduct our business, how we live, and how we perceive our world.  

VAPAs, or Voice Activated Personal Assistant like Apple’s Siri, can help elders by turning on/off lighting, playing music, and giving medication reminders. Caregiving robots can perform manual tasks such as cleaning, cooking, and laundry and interact with the elders to keep them socially and emotionally healthy. Moreover, AI is learning to diagnose diseases by studying medical images. Research conducted by Stanford shows that after the AI was given 400,000 medical images and data from 10 years ago to analyze from, they were able to predict heart attacks MORE ACCURATELY THAN HUMANS. AIs can also serve as your daily health check-ups. The researchers at MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence have developed a device called WiGait that measures person’s change in speed or gait by sending wireless signals that bounce off people’s body. These measurements can then be used to determine cognitive health issues as changes in older person’s gait is a common symptom of cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. As AI is less prone to human errors, the utilization of AI would enable more critical analysis of patient’s health condition.

However, it is never prudent to think of AI as some kind of panacea. Humans are emotional beings, and whenever empathy, sympathy, and compassion are needed, NOTHING can replace humans. In this revolutionary industrial change, it is easy to think that human’s value becomes nil, but the need for human touch, ironically, has increased more than ever. In that sense, the concern for AI’s dominance over human beings is just a simple overreaction. AI never replace humans, however advanced that may be.

At the end, AI is just one of the many inevitable steps of technological progress, a sign of human ingenuity, just like agriculture, iron, and steam engine. AI is the complement, enabling us to become more productive, more convenient, and happier.

It is not the time of timidity and fear; it is the time to embrace it.

AI is a great invention that we should celebrate, not a curse to be afraid of.

 

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2 thoughts on “Why Humans? Why, Humans?

  1. Bausch Koh

    You were able to incorporate multiple sources to improve your editorial through the use of ethos and logos, and it has been well improved from the first time I read it when it was a draft. Well done.

  2. Clarissa

    I appreciate your take on a controversial topic. I loved how you started the editorial as if you were supporting the negative sides of technology, but you later debunked it and proved how AI’s are generally beneficial. Very effective. It is packed with ethos and logos which emphasizes the logic and your claim. Good job!

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