Is Artificial Intelligence Making Us Dumb?

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It helps choose what clothes to wear, what books to buy, where to live, and who to date. It is in one’s smart phone, car, and can know their everyday routine. It finalizes most of the trades on Wall Street, grades college students’ papers, and controls a city’s transportation system and water infrastructure. It is for the twenty-first century what electricity was for the twentieth and steam power for the nineteenth. There is one major difference though, electricity and steam power will never outthink humans like Artificial Intelligence will.

The once unfathomable concept of artificiality and intelligence working as one being is becoming reality and arising in the modern world, more prominent and effectual than ever before. As the ability of AI expands, humans are no longer working in accordance with their brain’s full potential, lessening their performance quality. Since machinery is being so vastly utilized and now replaces direct human activity in several ways, less is required of humans. The presence of AI encourages a lack of attentiveness and sophistication. Nicholas Carr addresses this issue in the article “Automation Makes Us Dumb”. Carr expands on his theory of automation making the world dumb by presenting the results of an experiment acted out by scientists at Utrecht University, in which they had a group of people carry out laborious tasks. Some used software that provided little to no assistance while the others used sophisticated, artificially intelligent software that assisted greatly. The null hypothesis is that artificial intelligence has no effect on an individual’s performance in the work force, while the alternative hypothesis is that AI is lessening the quality of one’s performance in the work force. The consensus came to was that the individual’s whom used the less complex software made less mistakes and acquired new skills, while those utilizing the advanced machinery would rely on the software when faced with a difficult problem.

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In one of the studies analyzed by Carr, and conducted by British aviation researcher Matthew Ebbatson, a group of pilots were sought out to execute a difficult task that pertained to landing a plane in harsh weather conditions. Ebbatson aimed to put their skills to the test and measure their reliance on AI. He concluded that the pilots were unable to land the plane swiftly and efficiently due to a lack of practice and over reliance on AI.

Correlation possibilities

  1. Direct causation: Reliance on advanced technology —> poor performance in the work force
  2. Reverse causation: Reliance on advanced technology <— poor performance in the work force
  3. Third confounding variable: WEALTH
  4. Chance

As the economy grows and manufactures, schools, and businesses are capable of purchasing more advanced machinery, students and workers no longer consider it necessary to think and analyze beyond what the machine, iPhone app, or built-in device provides. Almost every child by the age of three has an I-pad in possession, and textbooks in schools are slowly becoming extinct due to new and improved technology. Humans are slowly becoming second in line to the capable AI machinery. The products of AI are being incorporated into major fields, possessing the ability to perform an excessive amount of tasks that were once solely able to be performed by human beings.

Bottom line: Practice makes perfect. As humans become more reliant on advanced machinery to complete a multitude of tasks, the less practice they feel is needed. However, when unexpected situations arise, they are unsure of how to handle them because of how dependent they have become on advanced technology. If we stop and use our brain’s more often instead of relying on siri, or other to do the dirty work for us, than AI machinery will not be able to beat out the human brain. After all, humans are the master minds behind the creation of the machinery!

References:

  1. http://www.wsj.com/articles/automation-makes-us-dumb-1416589342
  2. https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Understanding-Artificial-Intelligence/1014625
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nigel-barber/can-artificial-intelligen_b_7903914.html
  4. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/06/fashion/artificial-intelligence-as-a-threat.html?_r=0

1 thought on “Is Artificial Intelligence Making Us Dumb?

  1. Lucas Thomas Hansen

    This subject grabbed my attention, because I feel reliant on certain technology myself. No matter what tim of the day it is, except while I’m sleeping I am on my cell phone or computer, it is getting out of hand. Although these technology advancements are beneficial to us, because it makes our lives easier, it makes us more dependent respectively.

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