With interest in artificial intelligence (AI) at an all-time high, it is not surprising to see many companies looking to board the AI train and look towards adapting it in their operations and processes. Unfortunately, many of these companies are jumping in with their headfirst, failing to understand what AI does and does not offer for their specific needs.
It also does not help that media portrays AI as both a highly intelligent and dangerous tool that humanity should be wary of. While this is based on some real concerns about the technology and how it may be misused, such depictions have given rise to some unrealistic perceptions of what the technology offers.
We shall have a look at five of these popular myths about AI as we get to better understand it as well.
Myth #1: AI is intelligent
Intelligence is a property inherent to living creatures. As such, AI is just a mechanical simulation in an attempt to create some semblance of intelligence in machines. It is accomplished by using algorithms trained on data to become increasingly good at performing a particular task, granted that the right information is given.
At the moment, it is still only that, a mechanical simulation that may appear to produce some of the same results as natural intelligence. Also, this intelligence is only limited to specific tasks rather than the multidisciplinary intelligence living creatures have. And there is still a very long way to go before even a fraction of such multidisciplinary intelligence can be exhibited by AI.
Myth #2: AI is expensive and difficult to implement
AI has traditionally been expensive and only available to large businesses or well-funded research organizations. This is because it costs money to gather, cleanse, and store the data needed for machines to learn to make decisions and to provide the computing power necessary to process it. This is especially true for large AI models that the likes of ChatGPT utilize.
However, for most organizations, there are AI services available through cloud platforms that are available at a low cost since they do not require specialist knowledge or technical skills. While these services are not as powerful as the likes of ChatGPT, they get the job done for businesses that only need AI for specific, non-complex operations and not requiring specialist knowledge that many organizations do not have at their disposal.
Myth #3: AI will take over jobs from humans
It is probably inevitable that some human jobs will be taken over by AI that can perform certain tasks more quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively than humans. Then again, this has been the case throughout history following every other major industrial revolution from the advent of mechanical tools to electrical ones to digital.
However, it will also create more jobs, ones that are likely to be better paid and more rewarding than the ones that are lost. A World Economic Forum report published in 2020 stated that while 85 million jobs would be replaced by automation by 2025, including in manufacturing, insurance underwriting, customer service, data entry, and long-haul truck driving, 97 million new opportunities will be created.
Myth #4: AI is neutral and unbiased
Many assume that because AI comes from machines, it would always take a fair and balanced stance and be free from bias. Unfortunately, the reality is that AI algorithms are trained on data that is often created or curated by humans. And it is inevitable that human biases will creep in and affect the output of these algorithms. AI is only as good as the data that it's trained on, and a warning that's commonly given about any computer system is that "garbage in = garbage out." A great deal of caution and research is still needed and not blindly rely on AI’s output.
Myth #5: AI will take over the world and enslave humans
Despite what popular media says about AI as a harbinger of doom and gloom, the truth is that no one knows where AI will lead eventually, and to a large extent. In fact, it will be up to us humans as to how AI will evolve, depending on we will come to develop, implement and regulate it. This is why ethics and oversight are hugely important elements of the work being put into understanding and creating AI today. These elements have helped us rein in the likes of ChatGPT so it will not stray from its intended purposes.
Having a better understanding of what AI is and isn’t about will help businesses understand how AI tools can help elevate operations and metrics and facilitate better decision-making. This leads a more effective utilization of this technology which leads to the desired results.