Challenges of Artificial Intelligence for 2024

By: Diana Bello Aristizábal


Para leer en Español

The year 2023 became the year in which artificial intelligence, or AI, blossomed. According to Oracle, this term encompasses all applications that perform complex tasks that previously needed human intervention to be completed, such as communicating online with a customer, writing an essay, making a reservation at a restaurant, or even creating a song. Given its undoubted rise, what will be the focus for 2024?


“Recent advances in artificial intelligence have sparked both wonder and anxiety as we contemplate its transformative potential,” wrote Eric Horvitz, Chief Scientific Officer of Microsoft, in his text ‘Reflections on AI and the future of human flourishing’. His statement serves as a starting point to begin answering the question of where AI will move forward because it highlights its ambivalent nature.


This technology is indeed ambivalent as its transformative potential can be harnessed to create positive changes in society, evoking feelings of wonder or, conversely, to feed greed and perversion that, by extension, will spark feelings of anxiety.


On the good side of this equation is the impact AI has had in the medical field by, for example, helping predict solutions for the treatment of some diseases. However, on the opposite side there are all sorts of scams and the use of images to denigrate or promote criminal behavior.


“I think in 2024, we will understand better the importance of drafting a code of ethics in the use of AI. This will be possible when we have a broader knowledge of how far this tool can go,” says Manny Perez, Dean of EnTec & Design at Miami Dade College.


Making an ethical framework, as well as coming up with control mechanisms, has become a compelling need if we consider some recent events, such as the suspension of two students from a Miami-Dade school for using artificial intelligence to make fake nude images of several of their peers, and the discovery of more than 3,200 images of suspected child abuse in the AI ??database LAION.


Additionally, with the help of artificial intelligence, many criminals have deceived their victims by cloning the voices of their loved ones in order to ask for money or to fraudulently demand payment of late taxes on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).


The prevalence of this type of behavior has been such that the government issued an executive order a few months ago on ‘Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence’ with the purpose of implementing new standards to protect people from a wide range of threats related to AI.


This tool has also been misused by some school and college students who have submitted assignments done entirely through AI. “When ChatGPT came out, a lot of universities started blocking it. Our approach, instead, was to understand it and encourage conversations about how to use this in a better way,” Manny Perez explains.


The popularity of this technology has also caused controversy in different fields such as creative writing, music creation, journalism, or cinematography, among others, because it is feared it could result in job losses, while it also raises questions on copyright and ethical practices in professional execution.


In this way, the first major challenge will be to first understand in depth the capability of artificial intelligence and what level it can reach in order to continue develop usage policies, such as those the government is implementing, or strengthening the existing ones.


“Without the knowledge of AI, these conversations are not feasible because we cannot set rules on something we don’t know about. We must measure its impact not only on the negative side but also learn, for example, how to use it to make water reachable for a community in need,” Perez states.


But, according to the dean, these rules or agreements will look differently in each industry based on the nature of the work which will require specific boundaries and applications, and must be enforced at the federal, state, and municipal levels. “If we don’t start regulating and understanding as a society what we have in front of us, this could get out of control,” he warns.


Another challenge that must be assumed is learning to identify in a more refined way if something we are watching, reading, or listening is real or not. “In my opinion, that will be the biggest challenge for the future. We have been talking about fake news for some time now and this has come to increase that headache, which is serious,” says Edgar Argüello, professor, advisor, consultant and speaker on digital marketing and social media.


This aspect of AI was addressed by researcher Gary Marcus in his TED talk ‘The urgent risks of runaway AI and what to do about them’. “I love AI, but right now I’m worried. One of the things that I’m worried about is misinformation, the possibility that bad actors will make a tsunami of misinformation like we’ve never seen before,” Marcus said in his talk.


And he continues, “these tools are so good at making convincing narratives about just about anything…bad actors are going to use these things to influence elections, and they’re going to threaten democracy.”

During his talk, he cited specific examples, such as that one time when ChatGPT invented a sexual harassment scandal about an actual professor with enough evidence to be believed, while another time an artificial intelligence system created a news story saying Elon Musk died in 2018 in a car crash.


At the end, the researcher’s conclusion is that the evolution of artificial intelligence will not survive truth and reason if untrustworthy technology continues to be integrated into our lives at such dangerously high speeds. Marcus advocates for an urgent reevaluation of this tool and calls for a global nonprofit organization to regulate the tech for the sake of democracy and our collective future.


But in addition to the above, a third challenge will be to avoid overusing AI, a trend that influences us to increasingly leave aside wit and creativity.


“From a positive point of view, this technology was created to free us from repetitive, time-consuming processes that no one wants to do in order to help us make space for other things. It has improved over time and that is a very good thing because it’s like having one more employee on our team that always says yes, is never late and never gets sick,” Argüello explains.


However, this doesn’t mean it can completely replace the human factor. “It’s useful to complete processes, share responsibilities and as a starting point so that human intelligence can then cross-reference the information, cure it or dismiss it,” he points out.


In this sense, we must not forget that critical thinking is a muscle that must be exercised if we want to evolve as a species and not give up control to robotics and artificial intelligence.


“These days in the age of AI, children have less and less critical thinking. That’s why when they find an obstacle, they don’t try to solve it like other generations did,” says Manny Perez, who urges parents to understand the impact that AI can have on their children and to encourage them to read and research.


Finally, a fourth challenge is data protection, which is one of the most concerning aspects since many times we don’t know where does the information that circulates goes. “I think we are going to see a lot of progress in that matter during 2024. There will be a great emphasis on creating policies and systems that safeguard customer and company data,” says Perez.


In summary, artificial intelligence arrived to stay as all employment positions will require some level of knowledge in this field and all productive sectors will be influenced in one way or another by it. However, the point of greatest analysis in the current year will be how to take advantage of it in a better way, understanding that is up to us whether it destroys us or, on the contrary, helps us build.


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