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Artificial Intelligence: The Worry of Second-Order Consequences

By Dick Weisinger

Adoption of AI has been very rapid, and while there are many benefits to AI, it does have a flip side of potential issues, especially in the areas of ethics, AI misuse, and invasion of privacy.

A recent study by Gartner predicted potential undesirable second-order consequences of AI:

  • In 2023, one-fifth of social engineering attacks will use deepfakes
  • In 2024, 60 percent of AI software vendors will include safeguards in their software to mitigate the abuse of the software.
  • In 2025, Only 1 percent of vendors will be using large pre-trained AI models. These vendors will be able to control how AI is applied.
  • By 2025, 75 percent of workplace conversations will be analyzed to extract organizational value and to assess potential risks

A study by Vanson Bourne found that 89 percent of IT leaders thought that the use of AI should be regulated with central oversight even if regulation slowed the rate at which AI could develop and evolve.

Nitin Nohria, former Harvard Business School dean, and Hemant Taneja, managing director of General Catalyst, wrote for the Harvard Business Review that “we have celebrated disruptive companies, but we have not indicted the unintended disruption they can cause. The result has been the formation of companies that have become ubiquitous in our lives but have also unleashed a wide range of harmful unintended consequences. We advocate a new ethos of innovation, one in which unintended consequences are rigorously considered at the outset and monitored over time to mitigate them significantly. We believe we can accomplish this by technology innovators building software algorithms that can serve as canaries for emerging harms, capital providers insisting on assessing and governing unintended consequences, and policymakers evaluating unintended consequences to assure compliance. It’s a very different ethos, but it is essential to embrace if we want to avoid living in a dystopian world.”

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