Could AI lead us to a Dystopian Nightmare?

Keynote speaker, TV presenter, event host and moderator Ayo Sokale discusses whether AI promises to deliver opportunities or dangerous risks

Ayo Sokale Civil engineer, BBC Presenter, keynote speaker
Ayo Sokale speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain

Is our human existence really at risk?

Over 1,000 researchers and technologists, including Elon Musk, have called for a six-month pause on AI development, saying it poses “profound risks to society and humanity”.

I think AI does pose real risk. However, AI also poses real opportunities.

AI can be described as machines that are able to mimic human cognitive skills.

Often driven by a type of machine learning process, called deep learning, that uses interconnected nodes or neurons in a layered structure that resembles the human brain.

This sounds scary, a machine that thinks like humans. What happens to jobs and livelihoods?

The power of artificial intelligence (AI) to change lives is only beginning to be explored but it does need us to be intentional in its use. This is the time to evaluate its use and create guidelines.

From the basic requirements such as Verification and Validation.

  • Validation where we ensure the quality of input data before it is used to develop models and insights.
  • Verification where we ensure the software meets the specification and complies with  regulation

By developing principles applicable to AI, similarly to the CDM 2015’s 9 principles of prevention or Dame Judith Hackett’s Golden Thread of building fire safety in 2017 after the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

We simply need a mindset change to use AI for the benefit of society. To reframe fear as excitement. Mindset changes that will support society in its adoption of AI for its benefit are:

  • Clarity on human value apart from work and exploring movement such a rest is resistance that outlined the current unrealistic, damaging, and machine‑level pace humans are working at and the burnout epidemic.
  • Asking questions on what the future of work could look like? Reframing work away from current ideas of productivity and working patterns that stems from post-industrial revolution. This change could allow us to deal with class issues, marginalised group poor treatment, improve inclusion of neurodiverse people as AI does processes that were previously deemed their deficits and all people to use their strengths.
  • Rethinking the current capitalist model that leads to overproduction and overconsumption of goods that cause harmful effects to third parties and considering sustainable capitalism based upon practices that seek to preserve humanity and the planet and focus on “value what matters,” moving toward visions that promote human and environmental wellbeing and redistribute power from corporations to people. Looking at models that go beyond GDP as the be-all measure of economic growth and instead consider quality of life and wellbeing rather than continuous production and growth for the sake of it.
  • Undertaking Cognitive Restructuring –recognize humans are prone to “negative predictions.”, Track the accuracy of thoughts, Behaviorally test your thoughts and Evaluate the evidence for/against your thought.

The Social Contract, with its famous opening sentence ‘Man is born free, and he is everywhere in chains’, stated instead that people could only experience true freedom if they lived in a civil society that ensured the rights and well-being of its citizens. These exploration will provide a vision to create policy that acts as a guardrail as we embark on this journey.

The ICE and the National Infrastructure Commission call for all stakeholders with an interest in tomorrow’s infrastructure to come together to identify the challenges and opportunities presented by this impending AI revolution. This will ensure we are able to deliver the best outcomes for people around the world. It highlights four areas for review, performance, transition, governance and data and skills and ethics. I agree with this. We cannot hide away from this but we can lead the change with pragmatic optimism. Those who embrace these will gain a significant benefit – jobs more efficiently and increased creativity.

In the words of Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus – Change is the only constant.