AI and the creativity of humans

The rise of digital technology is expanding human potential while upending ancient human practices. More than half of the world’s population now has code-driven systems in their everyday lives, bringing both unprecedented potential and risks in the form of ubiquitous knowledge and communication. To what extent will humanity benefit from the widespread use of AI systems powered by algorithms?

In a survey conducted throughout the summer of 2018, 979 thought leaders in the fields of technology, innovation, development, business, policy, research, and activism responded to this question.

The experts agreed that networked AI will increase human performance, but they warned that it posed a danger to human autonomy, agency, and competence. Computers could potentially match or even surpass human intelligence and capabilities across a wide range of tasks, including but not limited to: complex decision-making, reasoning and learning; sophisticated analytics and pattern recognition; keen visual acuity; speech recognition and language translation. Smart technologies in homes, cars, workplaces, utilities, farms, and businesses were touted as the key to a more convenient, cost-effective, and personalized future.

Various upbeat comments centered on the medical field, namely the many ways in which AI may be utilized to improve medical diagnosis and treatment, as well as the quality of life for the elderly. They were also optimistic about the potential of AI to aid in the development of comprehensive public-health initiatives based on the reams of information that may soon be collected on everything from individual genomes to dietary habits. In addition, a few of these professionals hypothesized that AI will facilitate long-awaited shifts in both formal and informal educational settings.

Nonetheless, whether enthusiastic or pessimistic, the vast majority of experts have voiced worry about the potential long-term influence of these new capabilities on the core parts of what it means to be human. In this informal poll, participants were asked to explain on whether they thought AI will ultimately improve human well-being. Many people expressed serious concerns and offered constructive suggestions for addressing them. In the table below, we summarize the key points they made in regards to potential dangers and potential solutions.

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