Don’t be afraid of artificial intelligence

Often misunderstood, the many forms of artificial intelligence lead to irrational fear

An image generated by DeepAI to represent itself. When given the prompt Artificial intelligence expressed in a cool black and green picture in cyberpunk style, this is what the AI generated after several iterations. The ease of use of this site made it the prime choice for generating this picture.

Graphic created by Rose Duke with AI on

An image generated by DeepAI to represent itself. When given the prompt “Artificial intelligence expressed in a cool black and green picture” in cyberpunk style, this is what the AI generated after several iterations. The ease of use of this site made it the prime choice for generating this picture.

Artificial intelligence is a phrase used to describe any computer program that is used for tasks that would normally require human intelligence. These tasks would normally be tedious or way too difficult for humans to handle themselves due to time or the size of the task. One wouldn’t expect a person to control every single ghost in every Pacman game, nor a person to individually pick out what to recommend to you on your favorite social media app. Thus, these tasks fall to computer programs that are meant to mimic what a human would do in those situations. 

Most fields of work include artificial intelligence in some capacity today. Any social media platform, video game, automated phone attendant, text-to-speech bot, or even animation can use AI to do the work of a person without dedicating someone to do the job 24/7. These are some of the many forms that AI can take, many of them often incredibly forgotten or overlooked in favor of the flashier, modern AI like chatbots, image generators, and deep fakes. Artificial Intelligence has been around for much longer than most people understand, with the earliest being “written in 1951 by Christopher Strachey” says Britannica. This AI was a fairly basic bot made to play checkers (draughts) that was the precursor to many bot opponents today. 

Despite these varied uses, people often focus on the modern AI listed before and have ethical concerns about creative freedom; wondering if artificially generated art should be allowed in artistic spaces, or if using AI to generate content based on other people’s work is stealing their work. 

Many art spaces have taken a firm stand against AI content and banned it, such as r/art on Reddit which led to a major outcry when a wrongful ban was given out for someone’s art being Ai art

There are also ethical issues with the idea of using deep fake technology to use dead actors in film, such as Disney using Carrie Fisher in Star Wars, an actor very beloved by fans who were outraged to see her on the screen again. An AI was trained on her real-life face and superimposed onto a digital CGI model, leading to her shocking post-mortem appearance. 

While these concerns are understandable and valid, they are relatively few in number compared to the wide implementation of artificial intelligence that people don’t recognize as being AI operated. 

The people behind the usage of the controversial AI should be the ones you’re upset at, not AI as a whole. To target AI as a whole is to target every app you love and many modern video games. 

Instead of being afraid of how AI might be used for bad, look at all the good that AI has already been used for. The CES convention (Consumer Electronics Show) has a section on artificial intelligence, showcasing incredible feats done by new AI. While these are few in number compared to the other sections, they do demonstrate the wide range of fields that AI can be used in as well as the positive impacts of AI. 

Beyond the business applications, recommendation bots, and the fun distractions that are image generators; artificial intelligence can be used as an accessibility tool and as an extension of one’s hobbies and identity.

AI has been used in tools like eye tracking which is sometimes one of the only areas people can move due to medical conditions, making them need eye tracking to use a computer and Microsoft uses AI to make accessibility features for their products.

“I think {AI] has benefits and can help us get a higher understanding and get things done more effectively and quicker,” junior Ian Wright said.

The controversial AI generators also can be used for good. It can be used as a starting point to get people out of art block, or as a way to generate unique pictures for people who can’t afford to commission artists but have a vision of something they themselves don’t have the skills to make by hand. 

As noted by sophomore Micah Palmer, AI is a series of algorithms, which isn’t susceptive to burnout like people are. Artificial intelligence can enhance people’s hobbies by giving ideas on what to do next with them in the form of chatbots like ChatGPT. These chatbots can be used for responding to art prompts, bouncing ideas for writing, or giving workout ideas.

Overall, like any tool, AI is only as good or bad as the person who uses it. While there have been instances of people doing bad things (such as impersonating people or gathering very personal information about people) with artificial intelligence, the examples of using AI for good are far greater in number. 

“I think it is [ethical] unless they’re using artificial intelligence to exploit people,” junior Isaac Anderson said, echoing the point from before. 

While more work can be done to limit the harmful effects of AI, those should be limited to those cases and not used to target AI as a whole. With how widespread AI systems have become, people can easily use it to make life easier or more fun too. So next time you use any app or video game with enemies in it, think about the fact that artificial intelligence is making your experience better and that it shouldn’t scare you.