We recently came across PowerED™ by Athabasca University’s newest micro-course on AI Ethics. The description opened with a question that has crossed everyone’s mind at least once- will Artificial Intelligence (AI) automate me out of my job? Turns out, it’s a major misconception.

But that got us thinking about how much of what we know about AI is really true and how much is a mere myth. Sure, the nature and degree of our misconceptions could vary, ranging anywhere from ‘machines will take away my job’ to Terminator-induced ‘the world’s coming to an end at the hands of machines’.

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So, we decided to learn more about PowerED™’’s AI ethics micro-course and demystify five of the most common misconceptions surrounding AI.

1) AI will automate me out of my job

Why not start with the one that got us here? This misconception roots in the assumption that AI systems are used for automation. While that is partially true, they are also used for augmentation. So, they essentially may make humans more efficient.

2) AI systems are straight-A students

Let’s say you watched Squid Game (it’s hardly an assumption at this point). A few episodes in, you probably started to get K-Drama recos on Netflix and wondered how it happened. That AI is trained on a specific data set you generated. And it’s learning along the way, but biases also occur depending on the quality of the data it’s using. As a result, you might be missing out on some other awesome shows on Netflix, so don’t be fooled!

3) AI can do it all 

AI systems are algorithms designed to perform a single task. And to perform this task they depend on large sets of data. So, if you have a problem that is not related to the task the algorithm is designed for, it can’t solve it. Take Alexa, for example. If you ask her to play “Peaches” by Justin Bieber, it will do that without any issues. But if you ask her about the true spiritual purpose of life, the best it can do is give you internet results of existing info on the matter.

4) AI can take over the world

All AI applied to our daily life is currently artificial narrow intelligence, which consists of single-task algorithms. They cannot perform a task outside of their realm, let alone take over the world. An artificial general intelligence system, on the other hand,  can perform tasks without human involvement. But we aren’t there yet, though we do have to evaluate the ethical implications when more general AI systems come into use. And that’s a founding pillar of PowerED™ by Athabasca University’s newest micro-course. 

5) AI and AI Ethics are for science-y brainiacs

We admit, we are guilty of this too and we blame Hollywood for it. The fact is that AI systems are simple codes that anyone can write. And as for understanding the ethical implications of AI, you don’t even need to know how to write a code. All you need is a basic concept of how AI works and you can easily understand its ethical implications.

Phew! That was some serious clarification, eh? Well, if you thought this was interesting and intriguing, you definitely ought to give PowerED™’s AI Ethics micro-course a try. You can check out all the details of the course right here.