When a hurricane approaches New Orleans, we know what to do. Whether evacuating, boarding up windows, or stocking up on essential supplies, the public has experience dealing with these devastating threats. But what does the public do, especially those in Black and poor communities, when the threat comes from something they can’t see, touch, or feel?
This is the challenge that is currently emerging due to the rapid growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Even the creators of neural networks, artificial intelligence systems that learn and adapt like the human brain, admit that they don’t know whether they can control their creations. This reminds us of Dr. Victor Frankenstein, whose creation was amazing. In the film, once the monster comes to life and opens its eyes, Victor triumphantly exclaims, “It’s alive!” Well, now is the time to turn on the sirens for the general public and let everyone know that this creation called Al Zinda Hai!
George Hinton, a British scientist known as the “Godfather of AI”, warned about the potential consequences in an interview with 60 Minutes: “One of the ways these systems can escape control is To modify yourself is to write your own computer code. And that’s something we need to seriously worry about.” Hinton addressed the impact of AI on the workforce, saying, “Well, the risk is to a whole class of people who are unemployed and not valued as much because what they used to do is now done by machines. “
The World Economic Forum estimates that 1.1 billion jobs will be transformed over the next decade. Experts have estimated that 20 to 50% of white-collar jobs may be at risk of being replaced by AI tasks. Thus, it will not be only Black and brown communities who will be affected; The AI challenge is a threat to our entire society. In 2007, the National Science Foundation wrote a report called Gathering Above the Rising Storm about the coming storm – the instability created by the massive influx of skilled workers from India and China. It was important to sound the alarm, but the target should have been advanced technology that could disrupt our way of life.
With proper training, our children can prepare for the new jobs being created. But the real challenge lies with the existing workforce. IBM has promised to train 2 million people in artificial intelligence by 2026. But what about the 26 million people who may be displaced? The autoworkers’ strike led by the UAW outlined the potential structure of future labor disputes between industries and their workers. It also shows the disruption that AI-powered technology can cause across the economy.
A typical gas-powered automobile has about 30,000 components, including the engine, transmission system, fuel tank and exhaust system, while an electric vehicle (EV) has only 10,000 and requires far fewer skilled workers to produce. The workforce is also quite different: gas-powered cars rely on traditional mechanical engineering. Along with advanced electronics and software, EVs require electrical and computer engineering expertise.
Changes in jobs in the automotive industry sparked a UAW strike. How will middle-class workers fare when America shifts to majority electric cars? How do those workers support their families and send their children to college? The union is trying to ensure that workers have a secure future while the industry looks to take advantage of new technology.
Throughout history, people of color have faced discrimination and prejudice in all aspects of American society. With the increasing use of AI in most sectors, advanced technology may perpetuate and exacerbate existing inequalities. An emerging battlefield over racial equality will be biased algorithms and lack of diversity in technology-based industries. Bloomberg recently reported that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman also acknowledged that ChatGPT has “deficiencies related to bias.” Furthermore, healthcare providers will encounter implicit race-based biases in medicine, which may reinforce inaccurate stereotypes in algorithms and lead to inappropriate treatment recommendations or late diagnoses.
The main problem is that AI systems are often trained on data that reflects these biases and already contains discriminatory patterns. Facial recognition technology has higher error rates for darker-skinned individuals and women than for lighter-skinned individuals and men, leading to misidentification and potential misidentification of people of color when facial recognition is used for security or law enforcement. Loss occurs.
Another issue is the lack of diversity within the AI industry. According to a 2020 report by OpenAI, only 2.5% of employees at major tech companies are Black, and only 4.6% are Hispanic. Lack of representation can lead to biased algorithms and perpetuate inequities. Furthermore, the lack of diversity within the industry means that AI systems may not accurately reflect the needs and experiences of people of color, leaving products and services inaccessible to these communities.
While AI can improve our lives, it is essential to address the potential negative aspects and inform the public about the dramatic changes on the horizon.
Government and the private sector can substantially increase AI understanding by funding and supporting AI educational initiatives, especially in communities of color. This could include coding boot camps, AI courses, or providing scholarships or grants for higher education degrees in relevant fields. They can organize and sponsor workshops, seminars, and webinars that highlight AI and its applications, helping to break down complex AI concepts to a broader audience.
Additionally, they can facilitate mentorship programs connecting AI industry professionals with people of color interested in the field, arming the younger generation with AI understanding and networking opportunities that open up potential career paths. . Government and private sector can create user-friendly AI learning resources or culturally inclusive platforms. These resources should be made widely available and easily accessible, ensuring that people of color have the opportunity to engage with AI.
At STEM Global Action, our partners, such as STEM NOLA, implement a cradle-to-career strategy that introduces children in grades K-12 to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning and equips them with essential skills. Helps in learning. to be successful. Last summer, our AI Camp exposed 50 students to the benefits and possibilities of AI. This should happen in every community in every corner of the country.
AI disruption is coming; It’s survivable…and with proper preparation, all our children can prosper and participate in the great technological promises of the 21st century.