Risks and dangers of artificial intelligence: health experts sound the alarm

Last Update: May 10, 2023, 04:16 AM IST

Experts believe that AI can very soon match humans. (Representational image/Reuters)

AI exploded into the public consciousness last year with ChatGPT, a bot capable of generating tracts of coherent text from short prompts.

Health professionals should warn the world about the dangers of artificial intelligence (AI), a group of academics wrote on Wednesday, as clamor grows to halt work on the technology.

The academics wrote in the journal BMJ Global Health that time was running out to take action because corporations, the military and governments were working so fast to develop AI tools.

AI exploded into people’s consciousness last year with ChatGPT, which is capable of generating coherent text tracts from tiny gestures.

The bot’s wild popularity sparked a race among tech giants like Google and Microsoft to embed AI in everything from spreadsheets to search tools, and prompted investors to pour money into AI startups.

But health academics point to a number of dangers, including powerful AI surveillance systems being developed in dozens of countries, killer robots and misinformation.

For healthcare, he wrote, people with darker skin were at serious risk of harm or less care because the datasets used to “train” the AI ​​algorithms were often biased.

He argued that “the window of opportunity to avoid serious and potentially existential harm is closing”.

The authors, led by Frederick Federspiel of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and David McCoy of the United Nations University in Kuala Lumpur, write that global cooperation will be needed.

“Healthcare professionals have an important role to play in raising awareness and sounding the alarm on the risks and threats posed by AI,” they wrote in an analysis piece.

“If AI is ever to fulfill its promise to benefit humanity and society, we must protect democracy, strengthen our public interest institutions, and reduce power so that there are effective checks and balances.”

Concern about the direction of AI research is causing alarm even in the heart of the field.

Earlier this month, computer scientist Geoffrey Hinton, often referred to as the “godfather of AI,” quit his job at Google to warn of the “serious risks to society and humanity” of the technology.

In March, billionaire Elon Musk – whose Tesla carmaker deploys AI systems – and hundreds of experts called for a pause in AI development to ensure the technology is safe and properly regulated.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)