Robby the Robot, HAL 9000, androids, replicants, the Matrix, Cylons: most of us have grown up with the idea of artificial intelligence (AI) looming large in popular culture. Through the 20th century and into the 21st we have been fascinated by the prospect of AI and its implications for us as humans.
Many of the stories we tell ourselves about robots, however, have an element of fear to them: in our fiction, robots take over the world, attempt to eliminate humans, and must be stopped.
Real life AI isn’t not quite at Asimovian levels yet, but it is starting to catch up to the promises made by science fiction; ChatGPT took the world by storm earlier this year, and security robots like the RADDOG have appeared on television. Unfortunately, plenty of fears about AI are also surfacing in real life.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of four myths, as well as one truth about AI, and its impact on the world and the physical security industry.
Myth 1: AI will be smarter than humans
One of the fears we see in science fiction is that AI realizes it’s smarter, and therefore better than humanity. The ability of AI to demonstrate human levels of intelligence, such as problem-solving and learning, is called Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), and at the moment it’s purely theoretical. Our current AI models are narrow rather than general; they take in information, learn specific tasks, and complete those narrow tasks. AGI may be developed in the future, but at the moment, there is no path to an AI that’s smarter than a human being.
Myth 2: AI will become self-aware and realize it’s superior to humanity
In the Matrix and Battlestar Galactica, AI develops consciousness and realizes it’s been created to serve mankind. It then revolts against its creator. That’s a pretty frightening storyline (and a significant security challenge) however, it’s just that: a story.
Take the example of ChatGPT. While it’s impressive with language and communication skills, ChatGPT possesses neither emotion nor conscious thought. The AI itself is pretty clear about this. Ask ChatGPT about its self-awareness and you’re likely to get something like this:
“ I do not possess consciousness, self-awareness, emotions, or subjective experiences. I am a machine learning model that processes and generates text based on patterns in the data I've been trained on. While I can generate human-like text and provide helpful responses, it's important to remember that I do not have true understanding or awareness.”
AI is not conscious the way humans are. Rather, it’s a tool that functions using algorithms.
Myth 3: AI will cause widespread job loss
Because AI has been taking on jobs, there have been fears that AI will be a job destroyer. I believe AI will be a job transformer. AI takes on the jobs people don’t like to do; the repetitive, tiresome, menial jobs that humans aren’t good at because bored humans are inattentive workers. Consider the stereotypical sleepy security officer sitting in an empty lobby. A human is likely to miss things because they’re bored, but AI will be alert during every single interaction.
While some jobs are better done by AI, there are some jobs that are better performed by humans. AI needs humans to act as handlers. The important thing to remember is that as jobs transform, human skills need to transform as well. If you are worried your job might be taken by AI, it’s time to upgrade your skills.
Myth 4: AI will take over the world
Once again, this is science fiction. AI is a tool, not a replacement for humans. People are in control of AI programming, and there is no ability for AI to become self-aware and detach itself from human programming.
The truth about AI
AI won’t be perfect. It will have biases and deep-rooted flaws which will have to be overcome. The reason for these flaws? Humans have bias and flaws and humans program AI. The programming will only be as good as the people behind it. In other words, AI is just a tool, and like any other tool - from hammers to guns - it can be weaponized, but people are the ones who are using that tool.
On the other hand, AI can be transformative. It can be used to improve physical security, and has the ability to change our industry for the better. What we do with it is up to us.
To learn more about how AI can transform physical security, contact Circadian Risk and talk to a security expert today.