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  • Writer's picturePatrick Tomelitsch

Artificial Intelligence: A Double-Edged Sword for Society

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

Entrepreneurs and founders always look for the next big thing to change the game. And there's no denying that artificial intelligence is one of our time's most exciting and transformative technologies. As the founder of a tech company, AI is already a daily topic within our team.


But with great power comes great responsibility, and as we continue to integrate AI into our businesses and daily lives, it's essential to understand its potential impact on society - both positive and negative. In this article, we'll explore the double-edged sword of AI and what it means for entrepreneurs and founders looking to harness its power while minimizing its risks.


Artificial Intelligence is here to stay

Artificial Intelligence has been there for quite some time. I am sure many of you have already used several tools for years. You may have started with helpful integrations into your daily activities. I am starting this article with personal experiences and real-life examples.


Especially if you are dealing with design, digital production, or copywriting, various tools have come to your attention already. Grammarly to improve your English writing, and different graphic software to help you design your creations. Canva or similar software can significantly support your overall marketing and social media activities, or some text-to-speech software to keep your creative video production. Whatever it is, Artificial Intelligence is already involved in daily processes. Why do we use them? As founders or entrepreneurs, we like efficiency, speed, and control of costs. The tools mentioned above can significantly improve your and your employees' efficiency and productivity.


You already get my point; AI helps us save time and headaches when dealing with several tasks. But also in our private life, AI supports us in functions we all know. This can go from driving our car from A to B or optimizing our travel plans. And whatever saves us time efficiently for reasonable costs and effort is here to stay.


Hitesh Choudharyfor Unsplash

Downside

As always, there is a downside. Artificial intelligence is going to influence our daily lives and the way how our society works enormously. How far will it go, and what are the key points to consider from a regulatory side? Also, what does that mean for us as users, entrepreneurs, and founders?


This article will cover only a few technical details about how the technology works. If you want to dive deeper into the tech side, several resources are out there. I am interested in sharing the potential social impact we have to expect in the upcoming years.


What is artificial intelligence?

As mentioned, I will not go deeply into the technical details. But it would help if you had at least some basic understanding. AI is not a trend; it's a game-changer.


Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is a branch of computer science that focuses on creating machines that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as perception, reasoning, learning, decision-making, and natural language processing.

At its core, AI involves the development of algorithms and computer programs that enable machines to learn from and make decisions based on data.


To understand what AI is, it's helpful to look at some examples of how it is used in our everyday lives:

  1. Virtual assistants: Virtual assistants like Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri are AI-powered systems that can understand and respond to human voice commands. These systems use natural language processing algorithms to interpret spoken commands and generate appropriate responses. "Good morning, Alexa: Please give me a short overview of the latest news. Please also play some Hardstyle in the background while you do it."

  2. Personalization algorithms: Many online platforms, such as Netflix or Spotify, use AI algorithms to personalize content recommendations based on a user's viewing or listening history. These systems use machine learning to analyze data and identify patterns, allowing them to suggest content a user will likely enjoy. Remember the last time sitting on your when you could not stop binge-watching because you always got the best recommendations? Well, that was AI-powered.

  3. Autonomous vehicles: Autonomous vehicles, such as self-driving cars, use a combination of sensors, algorithms, and machine learning to navigate the roads and make real-time decisions. These systems analyze data from cameras, lidar sensors, and other sources to identify and respond to obstacles and other hazards. Recognition of traffic lights, pedestrians, or dangerous situations around you is some examples. If you live in Austria, where this feature is not allowed (yet), you can still feel some of the power of AI while driving.

  4. Fraud detection: AI algorithms also detect fraud and other suspicious activity in financial transactions. These systems use machine learning to identify patterns in data and flag transactions that are likely to be fraudulent. "Fraudulent activity detected; please contact us." I am sure you read that before somewhere.

These examples demonstrate that AI is a versatile and powerful technology with many applications. However, it also raises important ethical and social questions that must be considered as we continue to develop and integrate these systems into our lives. And there is no way around regulations. But they have to make sense and should avoid leading to competitive disadvantages. And believe me, I know what that means as a European tech entrepreneur.


Andrea de Santis for Unsplash

Impact on society

As AI develops and becomes more integrated into our daily lives, it's essential to understand how it will positively and negatively impact society. And yes, we also have to talk about both sides in a political and social context. Don't get me wrong; I am a huge fan of innovation and the rise of new technologies. But we need to set it in context with connected social dynamics.


Here are some ways that AI will likely impact society in the coming years. There are way more fields, but here are a few obvious ones:

  1. Increased automation: AI-powered systems can automate many tasks that are currently performed by humans, such as data entry, customer service, and even some medical diagnoses. This could increase efficiency, productivity, job displacement, and economic disruption. Do you remember the "virtual assistants from an earlier chapter? Well, here we go.

  2. Improved healthcare: AI has the potential to transform healthcare by improving diagnosis accuracy, streamlining administrative tasks, and developing new treatments. At some point, AI will help to make life-saving diagnostics way earlier and propose the most efficient treatment. However, it also raises ethical concerns about data privacy and potential biases in algorithmic decision-making.

  3. Enhanced education: AI can personalize learning and make education more accessible to a broader range of students, including those with disabilities or lower financial power. However, it also raises concerns about using algorithms in grading and admissions decisions. I covered that topic in my video sessions already. The educational systems have to change entirely anyways. Politics need to take that seriously and support fruitful and affordable systems. Otherwise, competitive disadvantages are inevitable.

  4. Safer transportation: Self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles have the potential to reduce accidents and improve traffic flow. However, they also raise concerns about data privacy, cybersecurity, and potential job displacement. This point gets even more relevant if you consider the rising climate crises and increasing problems with individual transport. I am a massive fan of self-driving, emission-free vehicles. Several lobbies might not be.

  5. New ethical challenges: AI raises many ethical challenges, such as ensuring transparency and accountability in algorithmic decision-making and preventing bias and discrimination in AI systems. We have seen issues during past elections or other political events, from manipulating facts to influencing voters through social media.

As AI develops and becomes more integrated into our lives, individuals, businesses, and policymakers must consider this technology's potential benefits and challenges. By doing so, we can work together to create a future in which AI is used to improve the lives of people around the world.


Diogo Nunes for Unsplash

Why Chat GPT changed the game

In June 2020, OpenAI released a new AI language model called GPT-3. This model can generate human-like text and complete various tasks, such as writing essays, composing emails, and coding. But it was only in the launch of Chat GPT, a conversational AI system that uses GPT-3, that the potential of this technology truly began to be realized. Even Austrian media covered it some time ago—that's usually an indicator that we are already pretty late to the party.

Chat GPT enables users to have natural language conversations with an AI-powered virtual assistant, similar to popular assistants like Siri or Alexa. However, Chat GPT goes far beyond what other virtual assistants are capable of. The system can carry coherent and contextually relevant conversations and understand and respond to subtle emotional cues. It would help if you tried it out.


Emiliano Vittoriosi for Unsplash

Human-like language

Chat GPT's ability to understand and generate human-like language can transform how we interact with technology. For example, it can be used to create chatbots that provide more personalized customer service or to develop virtual assistants to carry out complex tasks with minimal human intervention. Think about a Chatbot on your website that always replies fast and reliably to your clients.


However, as with any AI technology, there are also potential risks and challenges associated with Chat GPT. For example, it raises questions about data privacy, as the system must collect and process large amounts of data to learn and improve its language skills. That is precisely what the European Union currently addresses.


Ethical questions

It also raises ethical questions about using AI-generated content, such as the potential for the system to spread disinformation or propaganda, as we have seen on social media during former elections and political events.


Despite these challenges, Chat GPT represents a significant step forward in developing AI-powered conversational systems. As technology continues to evolve and improve, it has the potential to revolutionize how we interact with computers and other devices and create new opportunities for businesses and individuals alike.


Mass adoption

For me, the crucial part is mass adoption. Chat GPT cleared the way to use the technology for everyone. Yes, you have some downtime on the free account during the day, but the handling is easy. With a couple of hours of studying the tool, you can use it to your advantage and improve your daily tasks or outsource some of them to your new virtual assistant.


Especially for research tasks, Chat GPT can reduce your time effort by 90%. You still have some limitations, like most of the data is only available from 2021 and before. I recently presented some AI tools to an automation company. They discovered that it could help them significantly in the research regarding challenging tasks like connecting various systems and frameworks.


The mass adoption phenom is something that other great technologies and innovations, like Web3, still struggle with.


Nathan Dumlao for Unsplash

AI-Tools

You can already try hundreds of articles and lists with AI tools. That's why I created only a short one with tools I tried personally (excluding the obvious Chat GPT).

Here are some of the best AI tools you can use to improve your


Productivity and Workflow

  1. Grammarly: This tool is an AI-powered writing assistant that can help you improve your writing by checking for spelling and grammar errors, suggesting synonyms for repetitive words, and providing context-specific style and tone suggestions.

  2. Hootsuite Insights: Hootsuite Insights is an AI-powered social media monitoring tool that can help you track and analyze your brand's online presence. The device uses natural language processing and machine learning to identify and analyze social media conversations about your brand, allowing you to understand your audience better and improve your social media strategy.

  3. Trello: Trello is a project management tool that uses AI to help you organize and prioritize tasks. The device uses natural language processing to automatically categorize tasks and suggest deadlines based on your input, helping you stay on track and schedule.

  4. X.AI (now www.bizzabo.com): X.AI is an AI-powered personal assistant that can help you schedule meetings and manage your calendar. The assistant uses natural language processing to understand the context of your emails and suggests meeting times that work for everyone. Bizzabo acquired them to include them in their powerful event software.

  5. Zoom: Zoom is a video conferencing tool that uses AI-powered features to improve the meeting experience. The device uses machine learning to optimize video and audio quality, reduce background noise, and enhance the overall meeting experience.


Markus Winkler for Unsplash

Graphics and Image Editing

  1. Adobe Photoshop: Adobe Photoshop is a popular image editing tool that uses AI-powered features to improve productivity and streamline workflows. For example, the device uses machine learning to automatically select and mask subjects in photos, allowing for easier editing and manipulation.

  2. Canva: Canva is a graphic design tool that uses AI to help users create professional-looking designs quickly and easily. The service uses machine learning to suggest layouts and designs based on user input and can even automatically adjust design elements to ensure consistency across different platforms and media types.

  3. Pikazo: Pikazo is an AI-powered art and photo editing app that allows users to create unique and visually stunning images. The app uses machine learning to transform photos into digital paintings, allowing users to create one-of-a-kind works of art.

  4. Deepart.io: DeepArt is another AI-powered art and photo editing tool that uses neural networks to transform photos into works of art. The device can apply different styles to images, such as the styles of famous artists or the patterns of natural phenomena, resulting in unique and visually stunning creations.

  5. Pixelixe: Pixelixe is an online graphic design tool that uses AI to help users create professional-looking designs quickly and easily. The application uses machine learning to suggest layouts, designs, and graphics based on user input. It can automatically adjust design elements to ensure consistency across different platforms and media types.

AI tools like these can improve your productivity, streamline your workflow, and stay ahead of the curve in your industry. As AI continues to evolve and become more accessible, it's essential to watch for new tools and technologies to help you work smarter, not harder.


Family dog on Christmas, inspired by LOTR and Marvel, by Patrick Tomelitsch

Regulations: What comes next?

I covered this topic during the week already on my socials. I am a fan of regulations. I think, especially for entrepreneurs and founders, a clear framework is essential to innovate and run a business. But, as the past showed, regulations can also completely cut us off the innovation train. In terms of AI, that would be devastating. Especially as thousands of startups and applications already build on various AI frameworks.


Future

The future of artificial intelligence (AI) in the European Union (EU) is likely to be shaped by a combination of emerging technologies, public policy, and economic trends. As AI continues to evolve and become more prevalent, there is growing interested in regulating its use to ensure that it is safe, transparent, and ethical.

Here are some of the pros and cons of holding AI in the EU:

Pros:

  1. Ensuring ethical and responsible use: Regulation can help ensure that AI is used ethically and responsibly and does not discriminate against certain groups or reinforce existing biases.

  2. Fostering innovation: Regulation can provide clarity and guidance for companies developing AI technologies, which can help promote innovation and accelerate the adoption of AI in various industries.

  3. Protecting consumers and citizens: Regulation can help protect consumers and citizens from the potential risks of AI, such as data breaches, privacy violations, or other negative consequences of using AI-powered products or services.

Cons:

  1. Slowing innovation: Regulation can be seen as a hindrance to innovation and may delay the development and adoption of new AI technologies. In other words, European companies would lose the race against other countries.

  2. Burdensome compliance requirements: Regulations can impose compliance requirements on AI companies, which can be costly and time-consuming.

  3. Difficulty in keeping up with technological advancements: Given the rapid pace of technological advances in AI, it may be challenging for regulators to keep up with new developments and ensure that regulations are relevant and practical.

In the EU, efforts to regulate AI are already underway. In April 2021, the European Commission proposed new regulations on AI that would apply to a wide range of AI applications, including facial recognition, autonomous vehicles, and chatbots. The proposed rules aim to promote AI's ethical and responsible use while fostering innovation and economic growth. And now, in 2023, as Chat GPT changed the game completely, regulations will take only a short time to affect European companies enormously.


Visuals for Unsplash

Everyone needs to be involved

Overall, the future of AI in the EU is likely to be shaped by a combination of technological developments, public policy, and economic trends. While there are pros and cons to regulating AI, it is clear that there is a need for thoughtful and informed approaches to ensure that AI is used in a safe, transparent, and ethical way that benefits society as a whole.

Don't get me wrong; regulations are essential. As the CEO and founder of a technology company focusing on Blockchain and Web3 mainly, MICA was a regulatory framework that needed a clear set of rules to work on. We can also achieve a fruitful outcome regarding AI. As European Union, it would be an excellent chance to rethink its funding strategy and work with innovators and talents on competitive products. We should not leave the playground (again) to foreign competitors only.


Conclusion

In conclusion, the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) is growing at an unprecedented rate, and its potential benefits and challenges are becoming more apparent daily. From automation to healthcare, education, transportation, and beyond, AI is transforming industries and shaping the future of society. However, as AI continues to evolve, it is essential to consider its social, ethical, and economic implications.


As explored in this article, AI has many potential benefits, including increased efficiency and productivity, improved decision-making, and enhanced safety. However, it also raises concerns about job displacement, data privacy, and algorithmic bias, among other issues.

To maximize the benefits of AI while minimizing its risks, it is crucial to take a balanced and thoughtful approach that considers the potential impact of AI on society as a whole. This includes ongoing research and development, robust public policy, and proactive engagement with stakeholders from all sectors of society.


Innovation and responsibility

By taking a collaborative and responsible approach to the development and integration of AI, we can create a future in which this transformative technology is used to improve the lives of people around the world. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a policymaker, or simply an interested citizen, staying informed and engaged in the ongoing conversation about AI and its impact on society is essential.


Please comment if you liked this article or want to share your thoughts. I highly appreciate it. Until next time!


AI-superstar hiking trip, Italy, by Patrick Tomelitsch

Something to laugh

Why did the robot break up with his girlfriend? Because she kept telling him that he needed to "process" his emotions, but he was programmed to only deal with data!


Book recommendations

Anyways, check the AI topic on YouTube as well. There is lots of great and free information there! Here are some book recommendations on the topic.

  1. "Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control" by Stuart Russell - This book explores the potential dangers of AI and the need for control to ensure that it aligns with human values.

  2. "AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order" by Kai-Fu Lee - This book explores the impact of AI on the global economy and the race for dominance between China and the United States.

  3. "Deep Learning" by Yoshua Bengio, Ian Goodfellow, and Aaron Courville - This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the field of deep learning, including its underlying concepts, algorithms, and applications.

  4. "The Hundred-Page Machine Learning Book" by Andriy Burkov - This book provides a concise introduction to machine learning, with an emphasis on practical applications and real-world examples.

  5. "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach" by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig - This book provides a comprehensive overview of AI, including its history, current state, and future potential.

  6. "Rebooting AI: Building Artificial Intelligence We Can Trust" by Gary Marcus and Ernest Davis - This book examines the limitations of current AI systems and proposes new approaches to building more trustworthy and ethical systems.

  7. "AI Ethics" by Matthew Liao and Brittany N. K. Chin - This book explores the ethical and social implications of AI, including issues related to privacy, accountability, and bias.

  8. "The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World" by Pedro Domingos - This book provides an overview of the different approaches to machine learning and their potential applications.

  9. "Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence" by Max Tegmark - This book explores the potential impact of AI on humanity, including its impact on work, education, and social structures.

  10. "The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology" by Ray Kurzweil - This book explores the concept of the singularity, a hypothetical point in the future when machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence, and its potential implications for society.

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