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Artificial intelligence has provided humanity with some of the most important solutions in the world of technology. Its use in simulation has enabled man to perform many operations, which could not have been possible in its absence. Nevertheless, there are conflicting views regarding the future use and enhancement of artificial intelligence. There is a possibility that the future technology platform of artificial intelligence will increase its capacity to that one of the human brain. If this ever happens, the future machines will be operating based on human-like logics, which, in turn, may increase the feeling of uncertainty. When computers were invented, there was a strong fear on how they were going to change the future of humanity, especially in terms of interpersonal communication and interaction. Similarly, artificial intelligence ignites an interesting debate that focuses on the conflict that will arise in terms of consciousness or self awareness, personality, entitlement to legal rights, ethical considerations, reprogramming and shutting down these machines. The paper will study the advantages, disadvantages, and the necessity of the future development of artificial intelligence machines.
It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention. Necessity is the main inspiration behind the modern day progress and development, which are mostly centered on an improved technology framework. Consequently, the question of whether to create or not to create machines that use artificial intelligence that mirrors the thinking capacity of human brains has many dimensions. The question to ask is, “Has the world reached such a point where it is no longer possible to separate a real world from a virtual one?” In as much as technology needs to be enhanced to improve the life of humans, there are significant effects that may arise from extreme use of virtual reality. Thus, creating machines that can replicate human brains or grasp the information faster than people may be either beneficial or not (Nath, 2009). It depends on the precise processes, in which the machines will be deployed, and measures that will be taken to reduce possible negative impacts. This implies that it is necessary to deploy such machines; however, their function should not be seen to replace normal human functional capabilities.
The question of whether such a machine would be conscious or self aware is a major issue today, given the fact that machines do not posses similar cognitive functions as human beings do. The cognitive capability of machines is electronically enabled; hence, cannot be compared to that one of a man or woman, which is a biological function. Rajakishore Nath (2009) states, “Machines, like computers, cannot replace the human brains, which are biologically programmed to execute complicated cognitive processes” (p.11). Hence, the machines should be programmed in such a way that they are capable of mimicking human actions.
Self awareness is an important component of human individuality. Artificial intelligence should adequately take into account the dimensions of self awareness, which entail information, knowledge, and functionality. Gero (2008) proposes that based on knowledge principles the agent should describe its behavior effectively, functional, and non functional characteristics. Additionally, the agent should also be in a position, to monitor its functionality and behavioral trends depending on a given situation (Gero, 2008). This brings the limitations of machines into light, which shows that regardless of the progress made to enhance their artificial intelligence there are certain sensual functions associated with humans that are not easy to be achieved.
Human psychology scientists have observed and identified numerous characteristics that define a specific human personality. Hence, the action of enhancing the artificial intelligence of a machine to such a level that it can adopt a human personality requires careful consideration and much effort. Giving machines a personality will increase their association with human beings, because they will be able to perceive their surrounding and other objects that they interact with while accomplishing their assigned functions or tasks. According to Terano (2001) “they should be animated, but preferably there should be possibilities to give them the personality and capabilities to act on their own or on behalf of a user of the avatar or owner of the environment” (p.20). This implies that behavior and functioning of the machines will mimic human actions. The robots with artificial intelligence are not likely to increase the number of conflicts between humans and machines, because they will be in a position, to detect the mood and ambience of particular situation and settings.
According to Costa, Vicari, and Tonidandel (2010), personality is the element that individuates humans because it is perceived to be relatively stable at all times; hence, it can withstand different intensities of emotions. Giving machines a personality implies that they will be equipped with an element of emotional intelligence. The five main personality factors include openness, extroversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness (Costa, Vicari, &Tonidandel, 2010). Each of these personality factors is endowed with unique psychological traits that need to be considered when programming the machine to reflect a particular personality.
However, in as much as the machine may be programmed to mimic a particular personality effectively, incorporating emotional intelligence will still pose a challenge to humanity. There are, for example, situations when a human may cry because of joy, while, under certain circumstances, tears are signs of sadness or grief. In this regard, a robot operating in a particular work space may not be in a position, to evaluate the mood or analyze the situation effectively, like a human would do. It is also important to note that mood is a cumulative effect of the interaction between emotions and other external and intrinsic causes, which may not be easily appraised by machines.
In the event of the artificial intelligence adopted for machines allowing them to have full awareness, this may necessitate the drafting of special legislative measures to define the extent of the robots’ rights. The fact that the machines will have full awareness implies that their actions will attract some significant level of liability. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Robots and other futuristic organizations and individuals support the concept that the rapid development and improvement of artificial intelligence will require robots to be awarded legal rights (Geraci, 2010). Other futurists object to this idea, claiming that even though there is a high possibility for robots to be awarded legal rights, they should not have similar rights as human beings have. Another futurist, Asimov, observes that there is a high possibility of humans harming robots and vice versa. The consequences depend on the particular situation and scenario (Geraci, 2010). This implies that robots need to be held accountable for their actions in the same way the human beings are required.
Despite the fact that machines are inanimate objects, failing to give them legal rights yet they have full awareness could lead to serious problems. When an artificial intelligence allows robots to communicate and exhibit reactions similar to those of men and women, the interaction barrier will decrease. As a result, robots will be operating in almost all facets of human life. By having full awareness, it implies that there will be a high probability of human-robot conflicts occurring in any setting. For example, robots designated to carry out particular tasks may end up refusing to do those tasks on the basis of being overworked. The common perception among humans is that robots are made of mechanical components that can perform specific tasks for a long period of time. Thus, when robots have full awareness and are able to express themselves like humans, they may require a legal space to express their grievances. This will acknowledge the fact that robots can interpret right from wrongdoings.
According to Geraci (2010), there is the need for governmental authorities to establish a framework that will empower citizens to become informed on robots. This will provide an opportunity for structures to be designed that will acknowledge the legal rights of robots. The Biennial Convention of the International Bar Association presented a mock trial, which suggested that the current legislative framework should play a significant role in drafting effective laws to regulate the behavior of robots (Geraci, 2010).
Machines are practically immortal because of their mechanical nature. Artificial intelligence will enable robots to have their lifeline renewed at any time through reprogramming and upgrading. In the event of a robot being involved in a serious crime and issuing the recommendation to terminate its lifeline, the situation may involve certain ethical considerations. The American government has for a long time debated on the legal and ethical issues affecting robots. Geraci (2008) remarks that the American government tends to avoid implementation of ethical legislations by making it a free opinion.
Thus, when robots acquire full awareness, ethical consideration will be of core importance when subjecting them to reprogramming or shutting them down. Reprogramming can be done to a robot, which may result in its system being modified. When its system is modified, this may lead to changes being introduced, which may alter its previous mechanism of self awareness. Reprogramming may also lead to particular information stored in their memory being modified or deleted. As a result, this may change the evidence needed to prove certain actions associated with a particular machine and its action.
The benefits of artificial intelligence cannot be underestimated in the current economic realm. The world has become a competitive space leading to the adoption of modern automation in many industrial and social settings. The concept of automation has now penetrated other nontraditional settings where it is uncommon to find artificial intelligence being used, for example, homes. The main advantage of developing machines with an enhanced level of artificial intelligence is that they can be equipped with multiple personalities, which may make them superior to humans. In this regard, each of the neural components can operate independently. This, in turn, implies that, in case of failure in one component, the remaining parts may still achieve the same function and fulfill the task (Akerkar, & Sajja, 2010). Additionally, these types of machines can perform multiple functions with higher precision compared to the human brain.
On the contrary, the main disadvantage is that artificial intelligence can never fully mimic the functionality of a human brain (Akerkar, & Sajja, 2010). This is because the neural network in a human brain is much more complex than the one developed for artificial intelligence machines. Another disadvantage is that the program system running machines can become corrupted leading to serious accidents and mistakes, some of which may be fatal. This element of corruption seriously degrades the functionality of artificial intelligence.
Finally, in as much as the artificial intelligence systems can be enhanced to a high level, its functionality still requires constant manual intervention from a human operator. Therefore, developing a perfect artificial intelligence system may still be far from actual achievement despite the presence of an enhanced technological framework.