Whose afraid of the big AI?

We have a natural tendency to fear change. We tend to prefer the familiar and the predictable, and anything that threatens to disrupt our routine can cause anxiety and discomfort. This is particularly true when it comes to technology, and the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) is no exception. The fear and hysteria surrounding AI are often rooted in the psychological fear of change and the unknown.

The fear of change is a complex psychological phenomenon that can be traced back to our evolutionary history. Our ancestors had to be cautious of anything new in their environment to ensure their survival. This instinctual fear has been passed down through generations, and it still plays a significant role in our behavior today. When we encounter something unfamiliar or different, our brains automatically go into a state of alertness and start to search for potential threats.

Now isn’t the time to be scared, it’s time to make the most of new opportunities

This fear of change is particularly strong when it comes to new technologies. We often feel that we have little control over the changes that technology brings, and this can leave us feeling vulnerable and powerless. When it comes to AI, the fear is often compounded by the idea that machines will become smarter than humans and eventually take over our jobs and our lives.

I remember wearing Google Glass and some of the reactions. People feared that I was taking their photo at the same time when their image is captured thousands of times per day on CCTV. Let alone all the pictures being taken surreptitiously on mobile phones. If I had secretly wanted to record someone’s image I wouldn’t have done so we a weird-looking device in front of my eye. I get it, it was new, and it was different – but could our evolutionary fears stop us from gaining from what new technology could offer?

One of the reasons why the fear of AI is so prevalent is that it is often portrayed in popular culture as a malevolent force that is out to destroy humanity. Movies like “The Terminator” and “The Matrix” have helped to perpetuate this idea, and many people now view AI as a threat to our existence. At a time when the real threat is one of the most powerful nations waging war and the complexities of how others respond, I guess it’s easier to look for a simpler message of a fictional threat.

The reality is that AI is still in its infancy, and the technology is far from capable of taking over the world. In fact, AI is already being used in many industries to improve efficiency and productivity. For example, AI algorithms are used in healthcare to help doctors diagnose and treat patients, and in finance to detect fraud and reduce risk.

So, why do we continue to fear AI? Part of the reason is that we tend to overestimate the capabilities of AI and underestimate our own ability to adapt to change. We also tend to view technology as a separate entity from ourselves, rather than as a tool that we can use to improve our lives.

Something that we all need to accept, AI is not going anywhere.

Man looking afraid
We have nothing to fear that fear itself?

Whilst recognising and being conscious of any real risks that any new technology has, it’s time to see the motivations of the doom-mongers – who really don’t have your best interests at heart.

Recognising that change is inevitable we can focus on the many benefits AI has to offer. By opening our minds to becoming more aware of the realities of AI and its capabilities, we can make informed decisions about its use.

Embracing change we can see AI as an opportunity for growth and improvement, rather than as a threat to our existence. There is a bigger threat of being left behind as others embrace and explore its full potential.

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