AI Armageddon

Throughout history, several types of technical advancements have significantly transformed civilization, presenting both remarkable advancements and significant risks.

Throughout history, several types of technical advancements have significantly transformed civilization, presenting both remarkable advancements and significant risks. The atomic bomb, which appeared in the mid-twentieth century, was seen by some as a remarkable technical accomplishment and by others as a depressing weapon of war. Its appearance permanently changed the way global politics and security were seen. It ushered in an age when the potential for existential devastation could be measured on an unprecedented scale. Given the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) in recent times, it is being compared to monumental breakthroughs, prompting the question: can AI pose a same level of danger as a nuclear bomb?

AI encompasses technology that can imitate and surpass human cognitive abilities. Machine-learning algorithms, deep-learning networks, and autonomous systems are now causing a revolution across a wide variety of human activities, including the automobile, healthcare, banking, and art/literary sectors. Consequently, this implies that AI will function not just as a tool but also as a transformative force in all areas of society.

By drawing a comparison between AI and nuclear weapons, it becomes evident that AI poses significant and potentially grave threats if not managed with utmost caution. AI introduces the possibility of military systems that function autonomously, without human involvement. This raises significant ethical concerns and the risk for inadvertent conflict and escalation. The unprecedented surveillance of people may result in significant privacy infringements and an amplification of authority inside an authoritarian system.

AI systems often exhibit biases inherent in their training data, resulting in the perpetuation of new kinds of prejudice in critical domains such as recruiting, court sentencing, and credit scoring, among others. The superior ability of AI to do these jobs more efficiently than any human being suggests that it presents a significant risk to several professions. The removal of these positions would exacerbate economic inequalities and societal unrest. The presence of risks arises from the possibility that AI systems might one day give rise to superintelligence, which would possess an existential degree of cognitive ability surpassing human intelligence in all aspects. An AI of this kind has the ability to carry out acts that may have unanticipated and perhaps disastrous repercussions if it does not adhere to human ethical norms.

The subsequent spread of nuclear weapons and their continued development resulted in the adoption of many international treaties and regulatory frameworks. These initiatives were aimed at averting nuclear war and promoting disarmament. These frameworks exhibited different levels of success, with some being more effective than others, in highlighting the fact that while the regulation was intricate and challenging, there was still a possibility of achieving an agreement on global governance.

This experience may be used to establish a robust international framework for the governance of AI. Like the need of international agreements in the field of nuclear armament control, new international agreements will need to be formulated for the growth of AI, particularly in the areas of autonomous weapons and surveillance technologies. Implementing universal ethical principles in the development and implementation of AI will greatly contribute to ensuring that AI products and technology be used to benefit society while respecting human rights and freedoms. AI governance should prioritize inclusivity by including a diverse range of stakeholders, such as ethicists, scientists, politicians, and representatives from marginalized populations. This ensures that the technology does not unfairly favor one group over another.

Like nuclear technology, the administration of AI must be approached with ongoing attentiveness, creativity, and global cooperation. Given this, it is imperative that robust controls and oversight procedures be implemented to ensure that AI research prioritizes human safety and ethical considerations above unrestrained technology advancement. This objective can only be achieved if society is well educated. For instance, educational programs demonstrate how they aim to enhance comprehension of AI’s capabilities and potential threats, while also enabling individuals to have a positive attitude when it comes to participating in and influencing the societal effect of AI.

The careful examination of ethical principles that are deeply ingrained in the process of AI development is of paramount importance. This entails establishing ethical safeguards at each stage of the design and implementation process to guarantee the effective functioning of AI while also safeguarding human dignity and justice from a moral standpoint.

While AI may not provide an immediate and exploding risk like a nuclear weapon, its capacity to profoundly reshape civilization, both positively and negatively, is almost immeasurable. The lessons learned from the atomic era serve as a clear reminder that possessing immense power also entails significant responsibility. As we approach the era of an AI revolution, it will be the application of human knowledge in governing AI rather than the technology itself that will determine its influence. Therefore, it is necessary to strike a balance between embracing innovation and exercising prudence to effectively use the capabilities of AI without jeopardizing human chances.

Sahibzada M. Usman, Ph.D.
Sahibzada M. Usman, Ph.D.
Research Scholar and Academic; Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Pisa, Italy. Dr. Usman has participated in various national and international conferences and published 30 research articles in international journals. Email: usmangull36[at]