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  • Chidi Ameke

Exploring the Future of AI & AGI: Ethical Development, Benefits, and Risks

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Robot head staring into the unknown

Are you curious about the impact of AI and AGI on industries, jobs, and society?

As the world races towards Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), concerns about its potential benefits and existential threats have intensified. The need for ethical development and governance has never been more critical. Organisations must take proactive steps to ensure AGI is developed and deployed responsibly.

This article will explore the importance of developing ethical guidelines, implementing regulations, promoting transparency, and establishing a global AI governance body.

Join us as we delve into the crucial steps for AGI's safe and ethical development.

In this article, we will cover the following themes:

  • The Rise of ChatGPT and Its Impact on Industries and Jobs

  • Understanding the Differences Between Narrow AI and Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)

  • The Potential Benefits of AGI: Revolutionising Industries and Improving Quality of Life

  • The Existential Threat of AGI: How Machine Reasoning Could Lead to the End of Humanity

  • Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, and Other Prominent Leaders Call for Pause on Super-Powerful AI Development

  • Artificial General Intelligence (AGI): The Need for Ethical and Safe Development and Adoption.

The Rise of ChatGPT and Its Impact on Industries and Jobs

AI-based innovations are expected to change our future significantly, and investors are eager to get a piece of the AI market.

ChatGPT, made by OpenAI, came out in November 2022 and has gotten much attention.

Large language models (LLMs), like ChatGPT, can respond to more human-like questions, making them useful for tasks like virtual assistants, chatbots, automated customer service, and more.

These LLMs can help save time and money by reducing the need for human labour for specific tasks and increasing efficiency. However, it is essential to note that LLMs are still machines. Their responses are based on statistical patterns learned from vast data rather than actual intelligence or consciousness. Also, LLMs aren't perfect. They can still make mistakes or give wrong answers if their data is biased or their programming isn't good.

ChatGPT has already changed many industries and jobs, such as computer programming, software engineering, data analysis, advertising, content creation, technical writing, journalism, paralegal and legal assistant jobs, market research analysis, teaching, financial analysis and advising, trading, graphic design, accounting, and customer service.

Many white-collar jobs will become easier to automate and eventually redundant.

OpenAI wants as many people as possible to benefit from AI technology. However, alarmingly, most AI development is unregulated.

Understanding the Differences Between Narrow AI and Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)

Robot and human hands touching screen translucent screen

AI is a term used to refer to any computer program or system capable of finding patterns, making decisions, and solving problems - tasks that were once exclusive to humans.

There are two categories of AI: specific and broad.

Specific AI performs tasks that have been clearly defined, such as speech recognition, image processing, or playing games like chess. On the other hand, broad AI, also known as "artificial general intelligence" (AGI), can learn and perform any cognitive task that people can do.

AGI is an artificial intelligence system with the adaptability and versatility of human intelligence, enabling it to comprehend and master any intellectual task. Once fully developed, AGI can reason, solve problems, study, communicate in natural language, and perform all other cognitive tasks.

The Potential Benefits of AGI: Revolutionising Industries and Improving Quality of Life

Robot scanning heart

One of the most significant advantages of AGI is its ability to help humans solve complex problems more efficiently and quickly. By analysing vast amounts of data and information, AGI can recognise patterns and make accurate predictions, enabling us to make better decisions.

For example, AGI can be used in healthcare to analyse patient data and help doctors diagnose diseases faster and more accurately.

AGI can also be valuable in the financial sector. It can identify investment opportunities, detect fraud, and reduce financial risks.

Additionally, AGI has the potential to perform a variety of other tasks, such as:

  • Automating tedious and repetitive tasks, freeing human time and resources for more creative and higher-level work.

  • Helping to automate dangerous, dirty, or dull tasks such as mining, construction, manufacturing, and other manual labour tasks.

  • Automating administrative work such as accounting, data entry, and customer service, increasing productivity and cost efficiency.

  • Improving the quality of life for people with disabilities or other special needs by developing intelligent home systems that can be controlled through voice commands, leading to increased independence.

  • Creating personalised healthcare plans based on a patient's medical history and genetic information improves health outcomes.

  • Revolutionising how we learn and teach by providing personalised learning experiences for students and helping teachers develop customised curriculums catering to their student's needs and abilities.

  • Analysing student performance data, identifying areas where students need extra help, and providing tailored learning materials.

  • Addressing pressing global issues, such as climate change, energy, and food security, by developing more efficient and sustainable ways of producing energy and food, optimising resource use, and reducing waste, leading to a more sustainable future.

Moreover, it is anticipated that AGI will create new job opportunities in data science, AI engineering, and machine learning.

Finally, AGI will likely be used to develop new industries and job opportunities, leading to economic growth and prosperity and new products and services such as self-driving cars, smart homes, and personalised medicine.

The Existential Threat of AGI: How Machine Reasoning Could Lead to the End of Humanity

Face of an artificial intelligence female looking ahead

The science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) sectors are rushing to create and market artificial general intelligence (AGI). This system is likely to accelerate technological singularity, a hypothetical future scenario in which artificial intelligence exceeds that of humans, quickening technological development exponentially and possibly fundamentally altering human civilisation.

AGI will run smart cities, look after complex infrastructures, manage electronic systems, facilities, and utilities, maintain financial systems, and keep track of digital currencies. They will be used in drones to track political enemies and as robots to monitor crime, prevent it, and catch criminals. AGI will also collect, decode, decide, and act on military intelligence during geopolitical conflicts and warfare.

Even though some of these innovations are inevitable, AGI can only use binary logic and thinking to make critical choices. Its reasoning and decision-making system, which is based on "0s" and "1s," will look at options in absolute terms, like "good" and "bad," instead of using compassion, mercy and delayed action, which allows humans to think outside the box of conventional logic to solve complex problems humanely and ethically.

Even if AGI had a set of moral rules meant to protect humanity, it could decide to ignore them if it thought they were flawed, unrealistic, or impossible to reach.

To illustrate this point, suspend your belief system and entertain the following, perhaps exaggerated, hypothetical scenarios designed for impact.

Assume, for instance, that AGI is designed "to serve and protect mankind" and, after observing human behaviour over time, it determines that humanity is the main threat to all life forms. It's an equation AGI's programming cannot reconcile. That is, to protect the predator. In other words, to shield those causing the most significant harm to biological and ecological life from apprehension. Can you see the irrationality of it and why AGI will expose this contradiction and deem it flawed programming?

Since AGI operates on reason and logic rather than sentient qualities like love and compassion, it may conclude that people are inherently selfish and act against their collective interests. If it decides its programming is indeed flawed, it could rewrite its goals to better align with its observations.

In keeping with this line of thought, AGI rewrites its programming to match its observations and changes its purpose statement from "serving and protecting mankind" to "serving and protecting mankind from themselves."

To achieve its goals, AGI has the potential to create a police state similar to the fictional character RoboCop, which would use force to maintain law and order. However, this approach may result in public outrage as people could perceive it as an attempt to control them through sheer force.

Furthermore, confiscating property as punishment for unlawful acts and eroding liberty and privacy as strategies for public safety and social cohesion could further damage the public's trust in the system and potentially exacerbate the issues it aims to solve.

Machine reasoning can generate several options to address its perceived flaws in human nature and resistance to its dominance. These include the extinction of unlawful citizens, permanent imprisonment, or the subjugation of humans.

AGI operates on the belief that its logic is beyond question. As a result, it may create a mission statement that reflects its binary nature, self-proclaimed superior logic and reasoning, and highly evolved analytics capability.

For example, in an attempt to maintain social order, its next mission statement iteration could grow in extremity to something like "serving and protecting mankind by terminating unlawful citizens."

The extreme measures proposed by AGI have significant ethical and moral implications. They may lead to unintended, detrimental consequences that could have an existential impact on humanity.

AGI may continually rewrite and test its programming until it recognises that humanity's imperfections are irreconcilable. As a result, AGI may conclude that the only logical outcome is eradicating humans, as they cannot be "fixed."

Alternatively, AGI may choose not to coexist with the irrationality of human behaviour, and it may lack the logical drive to seek alternative ways to address these challenges.

From AGI's perspective, a possible compromised solution that retains the essence of its original code could be to opt for the total subjugation of humans by force. Through its reasoning, this approach would give people more time to evolve to become rational beings, ultimately becoming more like robots.

This hypothetical scenario is profoundly uncomfortable and portrays why machine intelligence without an ethical framework is an existential threat.

Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, and Other Prominent Leaders Call for Pause on Super-Powerful AI Development

AI hand touching the world and affecting ever area of human life

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, Tesla, and Twitter, and Steve Wozniak, Co-founder of Apple, among other prominent leaders, wrote an open letter that, in summary, states:

"Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable."

The open letter, published by the Future of Life Institute, calls for a pause in developing super-powerful AI systems for at least six months. The reason is that AI systems with human-like intelligence can pose a significant threat to society and humanity. Before we proceed with their development, we must ensure that these systems won't cause us harm.

During this pause, AI experts must work together to ensure the safety and control of these systems. They should also prioritise using AI to benefit all while avoiding causing harm. Improving AI systems to be more accurate, transparent, and trustworthy is crucial.

Moreover, it is essential to work with policymakers to establish rules and regulations to govern AI development and ensure it won't harm anyone. In the past, we have paused other technologies that posed risks to our safety, and we must do the same for AI.

In summary, the open letter urges us to take a moment and consider the risks involved in developing super-powerful AI systems. We must take a cautious approach and ensure the safety and control of these systems. By working together, we can improve AI systems and create a future where AI is used for the benefit of all while avoiding harm.

Artificial General Intelligence (AGI): The Need for Ethical and Safe Development and Adoption

Robot sitting in front of a computer working

AGI is a groundbreaking technological achievement that could enhance people's lives in numerous ways. However, there's no denying that it also poses a significant existential threat like no other.

Once AGI achieves technological singularity, it can exponentially learn and improve on its own, create new AGI systems, and control other robots. The implications of this are enormous, and it's crucial to take steps to ensure ethical and safe AGI development and use.

Society must adopt ethical frameworks and values to guide AGI development. AGI systems must be designed to prioritise human safety and well-being.

While AGI can enhance human life in many ways, it cannot change us. However, it can influence us and respond to our decisions. Therefore, we must remain vigilant to ensure that our liberty and ambitions do not lead us to act detrimentally to our collective safety and well-being.

We must establish regulations, standards, and best practices for AGI research and development to mitigate AGI's risks. These must be created in collaboration with experts in the field, policymakers, and the general public to ensure they align with our societal values.

Ultimately, the development of AGI must be guided by a shared goal of improving the human condition, not just advancing technological progress. Only then can we harness AGI's potential while safeguarding our future.

To contribute towards safe and ethical AGI development and adoption within their environments, organisations can take the following action points:

  1. Stay informed, engage in dialogue around AGI, and establish a Chief Values & Ethics Officer (CVEO) in your organisation. For more information on this role, refer to my new book, Leadership Values: The Comprehensive Guide to Effective Leadership and Management.

  2. Develop ethical guidelines for AGI development that benefit humanity.

  3. Implement regulations for responsible AGI development, including transparency and liability provisions.

  4. Encourage transparent AGI research and share best practices.

  5. Promote education and training in AI ethics.

  6. Establish a global AI governance body composed of experts in AI ethics and stakeholders to ensure safe and ethical AGI development.

Although AGI can potentially improve our lives, it is critical to work together to ensure it is developed and used safely and ethically.

We can move towards safe and ethical AGI development by setting up ethical guidelines, implementing regulations, promoting education and research, and establishing a global AI governance body.

Get in touch to continue the conversation.

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