All of these unknowns contribute to what you are experiencing and the level of fear you are experiencing.
If you have read about bear encounters before and know exactly how to act you will not only be less afraid, your chances of not getting hurt increase dramatically.
In the MediaSimilar to bear encounters, artificial intelligence is scary to many people.
When people read headlines like “Elon Musk: ‘Mark my words — A.
is far more dangerous than nukes’”, they are going to be very scared of artificial intelligence, and rightfully so.
These articles, for the purpose of generating clicks, try to sensationalize statements made by tech leaders in order to maximize their ad revenue.
However, at the same time, they paint an incomplete picture of the actual situation and what these people actually say.
If you were to read the article above, Musk actually describes the seemingly endless applications of A.
before calling for a solid groundwork and collective involvement of everyone in the evolution of artificial intelligence.
A more fitting title for the article would have been something along the lines of “A.
will bring many advantages to human life — but we need to educate people to avoid potential risks”.
Unfortunately, media companies are unlikely to shift to more educative headlines if that would mean a reduction in revenues.
Therefore, other measures must be taken to democratize artificial intelligence and make it accessible to everyone interested.
After all, if you know what you are dealing with, you are better equipped to make informed decisions regarding that particular issue.
Ways to Democratize A.
After having established that, in general, FOTU can be reduced by educating people on the issue causing them fear, it is time to introduce some ways to reduce FOTU.
In doing so, the reduction of fear not only benefits the individual that now knows more about the current state of artificial intelligence, but also the government of the country said individual is a citizen of.
Moore (2006) established that there is a “shadow price” of fear on the economy and attempted to calculate the trade-off between investment in a reduction of fear said “shadow cost”.
These findings imply that policymakers should not consider investments into A.
education for the general public as expenses, but rather investments into the economy.
Thus, here are three steps to overcome FOTU with regards to artificial intelligence:1.
Define Your FearThe first step of overcoming FOTU is to define and acknowledge your fear.
With regards to A.
, these fears can be manifold depending on who you are.
– Some examples include:What exactly is A.
replace my job?How will A.
impact the lives of my children?etc.
By defining what specifically you are afraid of, you are already reducing the number of unknowns scaring you and taking a first step in combating them.
Identify Helpful ResourcesWith the previously defined fears in mind, look for resources that can help you learn more about them.
This is especially true for fears that are very unlikely to cause you physical harm.
While confronting a bear to learn more about its potential reactions to you doing jumping jacks involves a significant amount of risk, educating yourself on A.
is not very likely to have that effect.
There are several people advocating for the democratization of A.
and, as a result, there are many (free) resources available.
To name a few:Books: Books are always a good starting point for learning about new topics.
There are several books by leaders in A.
aimed at the general public that are trying to explain the impacts of A.
on daily life, such as Kai-Fu Lee’s (Former VP of Google China) book on the geopolitical impacts of A.
Online Courses: Depending on how deep you would like to dive into A.
, there are several online learning platforms that place great emphasis on accessible A.
An example for such a platform would be coursera, co-founded by Andrew Ng (Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University), that allows you to complete several courses on A.
for free if you complete them fast enough.
People working in A.
: As with many other professions, most people working in the A.
industry will be happy to share their insights with you.
Based on my personal experiences, being able to exchange their thoughts with people interested in the subject will bring great joy to A.
researchers, data scientists, machine learning engineers, etc.
Re-Evaluate Your FearAfter having completed these two steps, take a moment to re-evaluate your fear.
Take a second look at the fears you had identified in step one and ask yourself whether they are still as scary as they were before.
If yes, great.
if not, go back to step two and try to find additional information to further reduce the FOTU.
As this process is highly iterative, you will very likely find yourself having to go back to step two at some point.
Technology is evolving at a fast pace and, therefore, updating your knowledge will be necessary every once in a while.
ConclusionWhile there already are a lot of great resources to educate yourself on A.
, an increase in the number of available resources would likely increase general A.
awareness and knowledge.
As explained above, it should be in the interest of policymakers to not only invest public resources in the development of A.
but also in the democratization of A.
Making sure that these two go hand-in-hand will provide enormous societal and economic benefits while improving the public decision-making ability on one of the most important contemporary technological developments.
However, until these public investments will be made, it is up to every individual themselves to try to reduce their FOTU regarding A.
and in the process encourage others to do the same.
Nicholas Carleton, Fear of the unknown: One fear to rule them all?.(2016), Journal of Anxiety Disorders (Volume 41) Simon Christopher Moore, The value of reducing fear: an analysis using the European Social Survey (2006), Applied Economics.. More details