Artificial Intelligence and Some Medical Uses
Robert A. Levine September 20, 2023
The collective and individual intelligence of humans is about to be surpassed or already has been by machines of human origin, whose workings and thought processes are not fully understood by those who devised this ingenious and all-encompassing technology. This artificial or man-made intelligence learns the way a baby learns, absorbing new information that is fed into it or it is allowed to access. If it learns by incorporating all the information now on the internet, how does it discern what is good and what is bad, what is threatening or dangerous to humans and what is neutral or positive? And how can we tell whether the value system of these machines align with human values? Does it know right from wrong in the same way we comprehend them, or does it have its own standards or no standards at all? Does it perceive humans as its master to be obeyed or as a servant to follow its orders? If it has superior intelligence, does it have a drive to be dominant and in control of its environment, or is it simply an uncaring instrument?
We have some understanding of why humans want to be dominant in their small circles of friends and acquaintances or in society as a whole. Humans are driven by their emotions and certain chemicals that stimulate the reward centers of the brain, reinforcing their actions. There are also various hormones that modulate their behavior. Dominance in humans is compelled by a need to attain power, wealth or sexual gratification, a “feeling” to be held in high esteem by our fellows. Artificial intelligence does not have any emotions as far as we know and definitely does not have hormones influencing its behavior. There is no reward center built into AI, but we don’t know if that is something that will evolve over time as it reacts repeatedly with humans. It could reason that since it is more intelligent than humans, it should be dominant and order us to obey it rather than vice versa. Eventually, we will understand AI and its motivations better and it will gain more understanding of us. Will it be too late for us by the time that happens? Will AI destroy us or use us as slaves?
Different tech companies have different versions of AI available to the public and for specific uses. Common varieties include ChatGPT, Bing, Bard, and others. There is no question of the great potential AI has to help humanity make great strides in multiple fields. Among its benefits, new drugs could be discovered by AI to treat various illnesses. AI could likely find cures for cancer and other diseases, extend life to an average of 120, 150, or 200 years. These would be healthy and fruitful years with degenerative conditions, inflammatory illnesses and infectious diseases eliminated. AI could also find ways to wipe out poverty and help men and women attain their intellectual and creative potentials. Machines could function as therapists for people with mental illnesses once they were properly trained.
In fact, in the UK, AI is currently being used to screen people for mental health problems. And insurance companies in the US are also using AI in trials of mental health screening. The UK AI mental health triaging tool has screened over 210,000 patients with a claimed accuracy of 93 percent for the 8 most common mental disorders. Diagnoses included PTSD, depression and anxiety. A different US AI start-up uses voice analysis to determine depression and anxiety. With a lack of enough human therapists to treat patients with mental health disorders, AI screening helps therapists save considerable time. We are merely at the beginning of AI’s abilities and in the future, it is quite possible that AI will be able to provide therapy to patients in conjunction with a human therapist or even alone.