By Jignya Patel
Artificial intelligence (AI), constructed on a vast variety and volume of personal and public data, is increasingly pervading all aspects of human life. From health care, communication and finance to art, music and sports, there is hardly an aspect of life untouched by AI.
In the initial years of growth, people were enchanted with the conveniences and pleasures afforded by AI technologies, such as voice- based assistants like Alexa, leading to the widespread adoption of AI. These AI technologies possessed limited decision-making latitude and autonomy.
Today, the sentiments related to AI are different. The public’s emotions toward AI range from “very excited” to “highly concerned.”
Technological advancements have made it possible for innovative forms of AI, such as ChatGPT, to appear in the market at little or no cost to the consumer. These radical AI technologies possess expansive decision-making latitude and have the ability to self-learn and make complex autonomous decisions without much human intervention.
In addition to convenience and pleasure, some people now associate AI with negative concepts, such as loss of privacy, unfairness, inequity and potential human harm, causing them to resist further AI adoption. People are left with the question, “Should I adopt or resist AI?”
The answer lies in understanding that convenience and pleasure provided by AI technologies are directly at odds with privacy and identity, the two most valued assets of human life.
For example, TikTok’s ability to precisely predict the next video is made possible because a user, knowingly or unknowingly, has traded the confidentiality of personal data for the convenience of personalized information. In the quest for personalized convenience, users are eventually cocooned in self-reinforcing ideas, as personalization does not allow for competitive ideas.
Similarly, ChatGPT offers writing convenience but simultaneously takes away users’ opportunity to think and express their own ideas.
A chance to develop one’s personal identity is lost in both examples as the desire for convenience and pleasure increases.
While abstinence from AI is unrealistic in today’s era, high dependence on AI can be dehumanizing. Could the path forward be to adapt to AI by learning to regulate our need for AI-generated convenience and pleasure? How can we teach today’s youth to regulate this need? These are some of the questions my research aims to address.
My current work examines the psychosocial mechanisms through which humans develop an intimate relationship with AI, a concept known as “AI identity.” Insights from this research can help us understand when and under what conditions humans trade their personal identity for AI identity when seeking convenience and pleasure.
Mankind’s relentless pursuit of convenience and pleasure must be tempered by an equally relentless pursuit of ethical responsibility within the fast-growing realm of AI.