There are two foundational concepts which hold human societies together around the world.
1. Human life has a sanctified value.
2. Humans are the superior form of life on Earth.
With the rise of the machines coming our way, artificial intelligence creates a threat that must not be ignored. In the past, we have viewed humanity as the best of what evolution (or creation) has offered.
We’re not as fast as a cheetah. We’re not as strong as an elephant. We are, however, smarter than all of the above.
AI poses a threat because it would dislodge us from the superior intelligence category. It would do so through our own volition as well.
What would that mean for human rights in the future?
Is It Naïve to Believe that AI Can Be Used for Good?
There are potentially beneficial uses for AI with regards to human rights. It could assist with human learning, equalizing the educational opportunities in society. It would increase our productivity through automation. It could even revolutionize how we see the science of the universe.
There are also many negative impacts to human rights that must be addressed.
It could be used to discriminate. AI could create new classes in society that are based on access to machine learning. This could affect laws, sentencing guidelines, and even access to basic essentials.
It could impact a person’s right to work. Jobs are going to be eliminated when AI enters a society. Without access to new tools or retraining, many families could see their livelihoods disappear once automation enters their industry.
It could impact privacy. AI is already being used to mine big data. We all create data every day that can be analyzed to target us in many different ways. From politics to marketing, our thoughts, words, and perspectives can be used by businesses to pad their profits while our identities are exposed for the world to see.
It could impact safety. Autonomous weapons systems would literally choose who gets to live and who gets to die.
What Can We Do to Preserve Human Rights with the Rise of AI?
Laws are notoriously slow to adapt within a changing world. We must assume that technology will continue to advance. AI may gain a level of sentience that is equal or greater to our own. That means we must treat this new intelligence with basic protections and rights that are similar to our own.
We must encourage legislation that promotes this idea.
We must also recognize that automation is a tool that we all can use. Providing access to this tool should be free to everyone, whether they know how to code or not.
In time, artificial intelligence will likely create a society of its own. Our human rights will depend on how we respond and interact with AI, since it will be, at minimum, as intelligent as any human.
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