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Artificial intelligence (AI) is guaranteed to be one of the most important trends of the current - and the next - generation. But what are the downsides of the arrival of AI on society?
AI is already starting to show its Big Brother credentials and it seems certain more companies are going to start looking into how the technology can benefit them in this way. Here are a few areas where AI is already starting to play a part.
Facial recognition in CCTV surveillance
CCTV surveillance is one of the areas where AI is going to become more crucial in the future. Many people are already uncomfortable with how they are monitored in public, but this is only going to increase. The use of facial recognition technology is already being matched up with CCTV surveillance, which feels like something out of a science-fiction film but is now a reality.
There is still a lot of work to do in this area, however. Facial recognition technology is far from being 100 per cent accurate at this time, although it will improve as time goes on. Trials of facial recognition technology by police forces in the United Kingdom found that there was a high rate of false positives, indicating it is not quite ready to be used on a regular basis.
Pressure groups such as Liberty have already called for the use of facial recognition in CCTV surveillance by the police to be blocked. Criticism of these systems continues to grow. It is unclear how much data is being collected through the use of AI in this way, as well as how it is being stored. With data hacks common, this will be a concern for a lot of people in the future.
AI in the world of gaming and gambling
The gaming and gambling industries are among those that seem to be particularly susceptible to the use of AI. A high-profile example of how AI is already being used in these industries comes from Macau casinos, who were being found to monitor the playing habits of their customers.
Casinos have always tried to identify players who they may be able to squeeze the most money out of, of course. But the rise of AI has made it easier than ever for them to do so. Casinos that are run by Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts have been found to use facial recognition technologies on their customers, while poker chips have also become digitally enabled.
What this means is that when a high roller walks into one of these Macao casinos, this can be flagged up immediately and steps taken by the casino to extract as much of their cash as possible. This is one example, there are many other ways we will see AI introduced in the gambling and iGaming industries.
AI has long been involved in gaming and iGaming with the link between these industries set to become closer and even more important in the months and years to come. What is actually going to happen is difficult to predict, but Big Brother-style controls will likely be involved.
AI and the next generation of arms race
One of the more concerning ways AI could show its Big Brother credentials in the future is through its use in the next generation of weaponry.
Autonomous weapons are already being widely developed and it is easy to imagine how the use of something like this could result in a catastrophic loss of life if it fell into the wrong hands.
Drones have become a key part of modern warfare, but these autonomous weapons take things to the next level, with military robots essentially trained how to kill.
Lethal autonomous weapons (LAWs for short) can work on land or in water and they are even going to be operational in space, which could have terrifying consequences for the human race.
Various campaigns have already been formed to raise awareness of potential issues involved in the use of LAWs, with the group Campaign to Stop Killer Robots having been set up a few years ago. The Holy See has also been outspoken about the use of LAWs and led calls to ban them.
It has even been argued that the use of LAWs may violate International Humanitarian Law, which could hasten their decline, but they do not appear to be going anywhere any time soon.
In fact, it is not out of the question that the use of AI in technology such as LAWs could be set to fuel the next arms race, with countries around the world trying to stay ahead of each other.
This would no doubt be concerning but appears to be inevitable, with questions needing to be asked about whether using AI in this way is in the spirit of what the technology can achieve.