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Artificial intelligence has now become a reality no one would have anticipated a few years back. The pace at which it is becoming a part of our lives comes with its appeal and apprehensions. The companies now don’t just sell products and gadgets but captivating and personalised experiences. The data we put online, from our choices in purchasing groceries to the videos we watch, our eating habits, and the amount of networking we do online, leave a digital footprint. This digital footprint then is used to understand behavioural patterns and to customise suggestions and services accordingly.

On one side, the critiques have vehemently argued against the rise of AI on multiple grounds, including invasion of privacy, shortening attention spans, customer exploitation, exploitation of consumer behaviour, among others. On the other side, the propagators have presented AI to be a life-changing innovation. Where the threats that AI offers are concerning, the benefits of AI have their charm.

CRITIQUES:

AI often uses the personalised data of consumers to understand their behavioural and purchase patterns to give them personalised experiences. Even though at the face of it this might not look as concerning, it invades the lines of privacy rather strategically. With more and more digital footprints left online, the consumer makes it easier for AI to understand their patterns of choices. Not just making it easy to predict their course of actions or choice but also manipulate them. If you look closely, it might also seem that with the technology becoming more dependent on AI, the users have become puppets to this intelligence. 

In the famous documentary, ‘The Social Dilemma’, many technology experts reflected the rather grim aspect of AI. They highlighted how it created addictive and polarised behaviour that is furthering humans from the ‘civilisation’.

The usage of AI has also lead to laziness and shorter attention spans. With AI being the model for most of the technological advancements, people have increasingly become lazy. Everything is available at the reach of the hand which has made people extremely lethargic. Lethargy further has psychological impacts like impatience and irritation, disengagement at large. With consuming more and more because of the captivating and personalised feeds, people have also become increasingly impatient and the attention spans have reduced significantly.

Many people also term the usage of AI as ‘selling the users’, proposing that users’ data is being used to exploit them by moderating their purchasing patterns.

IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE GOOD OR BAD?

PROPOGATORS:

With AI’s advent, most of the tech giants have made gadgets that help people in operating conveniently and organising their lifestyles. The AI has enabled features like speech recognition, image recognition, touch and face sensors that have made technology extremely user-oriented. It has enabled to carry out functions like speech translation, recording diet charts, keeping records of habits, organising data, etc which make these activities time-efficient for users.

Where understanding behavioural patterns by AI has been understood as a threat by the critiques, the proposition feels it to be the biggest strength. What AI looks like is predicting your possible purchase, so you do not have to spend hours scrolling or standing in long lines. This understanding also enables advancements. A crucial aspect of understanding behaviour is also to understand needs and aspirations. AI can enable the tech world to understand what exactly people want. Thus, making evolution an easy process. The algorithms that AI works on also get moderated, dependent on consumer behaviour. It makes a personalised experience possible for every single user. Especially in the fast-pacing world, this efficiency is the need of every individual.

IS AI GOOD OR BAD?

Where the critiques have successfully been able to justify their apprehensions on AI, the question remains, is it AI that needs to be feared? With the rising apprehensions, we see conspiracy theories, like AI would take over the world, floating all over the internet that does not have any scientific grounds of justification. To me, the concept of AI is not as threatening as its consequence. It is how the data is used and not the idea of data collection that poses a threat of exploitation. The concern then becomes that it is the sellers and the manufacturers who use this data. In retrospect, humans have time and again proved their intentions of exploitation to be closest to human nature. Is it then the false blame that we place on AI when it’s humans causing these exploitations?

No concept is good or bad in isolation. It’s how people interact with it that leads to consequences, that are then up for jurisdiction. 


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