The boom in artificial intelligence is taking the world into what some call the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It’s already a profound change, with major consequences for humanity.
There are huge potential benefits from AI, but also great risks. The technological breakthrough is vast — covering the political, economic and social spheres. It is unlike anything we have seen before and is not contained in one state or sector.
And it is already here, sweeping through many aspects of our lives and radically changing the way we live and interact with each other. AI began as a tool of governments and was used for security and military purposes before finding economic applications and flourishing within the private sector.
Since then, AI’s rapid development has surpassed the imagination of its creators. The expansion knows no borders and has few limits. Attempts to control and regulate it have been sluggish, and there are concerns about the outside influence it now gives to the technology companies and nations that dominate it in the West, creating concern about the technology perpetuating economic inequality.
Nonetheless, opportunities abound.
There are promising signs that the Middle East will benefit, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Some have even said AI will be “the oil of the future”, driving prosperity for future generations, running smart cities with sky-high productivity and helping the region diversify its economy. Globally, AI could unlock a limitless collective mind or memory for humanity.
But first, the dangers.
Commentators have widely discussed them, with many unnerved by its dizzying rise.
Marc Dugain and Christophe Labbé issue a stark warning in their book The Nude Man: The Invisible Dictatorship of Digital. They write that this latest “digital revolution” has led us to “a state of conformism and voluntary servitude, in which the individual is stripped for the benefit of a handful of multinational corporations, which are mostly American.”