Artificial Intelligence refers to the artifacts that are used to detect contexts or to implement actions in response to the identified contexts (Bryson, 2019, p. 1). Technological advancement has increased people’s ability to build AI tools and artifacts. These artifacts have affected the availability of jobs and employment opportunities positively and negatively. The current future of AI is unclear and rapidly changing with time. Artificial intelligence greatly impacts work, leads to inequality, and affects people’s personal liberty and privacy. This essay will explore the future impact of AI on work, inequality, and personal privacy and liberty.
We are currently unable to accurately forecast the future of AI for workers as there is a lack of data available. The main purpose of AI is to automate manual labor and make it easier and more time efficient. There is a general assumption that AI will make people redundant by creating super-intelligence machines that will change the course of life. According to Acemoglu (2021, p. 1), AI is likely to make advancements without paying attention to the possible effects of such growth on the essence of society such as undermining individual freedoms and democracy. This direction will affect the future of jobs as AI advances will replace workers without creating new job opportunities. Although these consequences are inevitable, the direction of AI is not preordained, but it is quite large and unexplored. The road taken by AI can be altered to create more jobs, increase productivity and shared prosperity, and bolster democratic freedoms. (As Acemoglu, 2021, p. 1), argues AI is not likely to make people redundant or create super-intelligent machines that will replace humanity. What is certain however is that AI will revolutionize various aspects of life such as entertainment, healthcare, transport, and the employment sector by enabling faster production of various tools and products. AI will also increase the amount of information that companies and the government has about people (Acemoglu, 2021, p. 1). Even though such predictions are inevitable in the world of AI, there is plenty of possibilities for AI and endless ways it can improve the lives of people. Instead of causing people to become redundant, AI will increase human productivity and efficiency and offer improved approaches to create new tasks for employees, thus ensuring that their employment positions are secured. It is possible to change the course of AI by directing research towards a productive path and changing the priorities of AI researchers to focus on aspects that progress society. For centuries now, technology has been considered a major cause of employee displacement and income inequality. It is believed to increase operational efficiency which leads to the displacement of people by machines. Technology may also lead to inequality as it may cause a few technical innovators to thrive at the expense of other innovators who get overcome by costs or lag behind in terms of technological development (Bryson, 2019, p. 6). On a positive note, technologies have disrupted lives, families, and communities for the better in the past two decades. For instance, infant mortality has reduced, and lifespans are now longer than before, which has increased general satisfaction in humans. However, if societies can reduce or resolve inequality, then problems associated with unemployment will also diminish as there will be more money in circulation. There will be a trickling effect of development associated with technology which will provide people with employment in various sectors of the economy. Technological progress since the industrial revolution has led to fear of diminished demand for labor. Although automation has made old jobs redundant, it has proven its efficiency through the creation of new ones. Although this displaced unskilled workers, AI development led to the creation of new jobs that resulted in economic progress as such IT increases production per minute resulting in general growth in the economy. In order to understand the effect of IT in the labor market, (Korinek and Stiglitz, 2021, p. 2) advise that one should analyze the effect of technology on the labor market by checking its ability to increase or decrease the demand for labor in particular wages and prices. The analysis shows that since the industrial revolution, technological progress has increased the demand for labor leading to increased material wealth and average wages in the advanced nations. Rather than replacing labor with super-intelligent machines, AI has increased the production per hour leading to heightened productivity of workers.
AI has increasingly made many aspects of our society unequal which include work, personal liberty, and privacy. This is due to technology being developed too fast, and the main focus of innovation was strictly focusing on automation which caused less demand for people in the work environment. Automation is a tool of inequality. AI has introduced new technologies that automated routine tasks that are initially done by unskilled workers in factories and farms. This led to causing the wages and demand for such workers in common occupations and clerical positions to decline. On the contrary, the demand for professionals in finance, managerial, design, consulting, and engineering increased as they were considered essential to the success of the new innovations. This group of people benefited from higher wages and high demand (Acemoglu, 2021, p. 4). This widened the wage gap between skilled and unskilled workers, resulting in inequality in society. AI has led to wealth inequality and employment disruption by shielding wealthy individuals and companies from liability at the expense of the vulnerable in society. In order to address the challenges caused by automation and technological advancement, there is a need to shift the focus from the taxation of income to the documentation and taxation of wealth. However, this will require successful redistribution both nationally and internationally as most of the wealthiest organizations derive their wealth from the global space (Bryson, 2019, p. 11). This approach will reduce inequality, which will cause problems associated with employment to diminish significantly. The inequality caused by AI has been exacerbated by the availability of a wide range of cobots and chatbots. Most particularly, cobots used in factories that assemble cars and manufacture car parts have replaced a range of workers (Moore, 2021, p. 7). Automation has replaced the low-skilled work done by humans with robots that are augmented with autonomous machine behavior. Such automation has replaced workers in terms of their brains and limbs, as the machines are built to think and work like people.
During the rise of AI, people have become more worried about the fact that AI could be an invasion of their privacy. This is due to businesses using personal data to feed us information and products that we have searched for on our personal devices previously. This could be very irritating to internet users as product advertisements would keep coming up on every social media platform that they may use over and over until they feel obligated to buy it. AI affects personal privacy and liberty. Automation causes people to become easy to manipulate and predict, which further exposes them to attack and oppression from those who do not believe in them. It affects one’s liberty as it may expose one to threats from the state or other powerful parties in society. Such restrictions on personal liberty and inhibited free expression limits one’s ability to innovate, which slows society’s growth as a whole (Bryson, 2019, p. 7). Another risk associated with automation is that it increases the risk of losing privacy as a result of complex algorithmic systems (Murdoch, 2021, p. 3). This may result in data breaches in various sectors of the economy increasing the overall vulnerability of individuals and organizations. Going forward, businesses have a duty to adopt AI to increase productivity. As explained by Schmitz, businesses require to use AI as a tool and acquire more data to increase efficiency (Schmitz, 2022, p. 2). While increasing the amount of data, it is also important to ensure transparency about the use of the collected data and how the data will be used. The business should have a legal and legitimate basis to use the collected data in order to promote the privacy of data and eliminate challenges associated with large amounts of data (Murdoch, 2021, p. 3). Increasing efficiency in the collection of data and improving the automation processes such as management of customer relations will benefit the business in the long run.
In conclusion, my analysis of the texts shows that artificial intelligence affects work, leads to inequality, and affects people’s liberty and privacy. Artificial intelligence has led to the creation of tools that have increased operational efficiency in the workplace. Increased productivity has resulted in the loss of manpower as machineries such as cobots and chatbots are considered more efficient, replacing people. AI has also led to the loss of privacy and personal liberty. Businesses investing in AI should implement measures that promote the privacy of data and protect people from possible harass and abuse by third parties.
Acemoglu, D. (2021). AI’s Future Doesn’t Have to Be Dystopian. Boston Review, May, 20, p.2021.
Bryson, J.J. (2019). The past decade and future of AI’s impact on society. Towards a new enlightenment, pp.150-185.
Korinek, A. and Stiglitz, J.E. (2021). Covid-19 driven advances in automation and artificial intelligence risk exacerbating economic inequality. bmj, 372.
Moore, P. V. (2019). Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace: What is at Stake for Workers? In Work in the Age of Data. Madrid: BBVA, 2019.
Murdoch, B. (2021). Privacy and artificial intelligence: challenges for protecting health information in a new era. BMC Medical Ethics, 22(1), pp.1-5.
Schmitz, M. (2022). Artificial intelligence and data privacy. Usercentrics, April 12, 2022