Jessica Sarrach ‘24, Lyonlife.org Editor-in-Chief
We are currently living in the age of constant digital consumption. The online world has strengthened to rival our own, and seemingly anything can be achieved through digital means. Whether through innocent fun in virtual worlds like Roblox or Minecraft, or nefarious crime such as identity fraud with deep fake software, the internet has it all. In most recent online development, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become the center of internet consumption. AI ranges from software designed for creating beautiful art and music to that designed to write essays and finish homework, to even AI software designed for the government to counter terrorism. With AI becoming an all-encompassing technological advancement, it is important to understand its possibilities, but also its very real risks.
For much of America’s youth, AI software has made its big introduction on social media apps like TikTok. AI creators have been dropping different filters to the public, allowing them to play around with unique forms of the new intelligence. On TikTok, there are filters that analyze any scene or face and create artwork as a reflection, filters that can take a human person and transform them into a cartoon character, and even filters that show you how you may have looked as a member of a past century. These filters have taken the internet by storm and are a great source of wholesome fun. But they are truly just the starting line for what AI can accomplish in its broad scope.
Past its utility for innocuous fun, AI has also been adapted to make large meaningful changes to society. Some AIs are being created for workplace use in order to speed up decision-making and data collection. Outside of the workplace, there has been AI designed to help travelers with navigation, aid in online payments, and smoothen the communications process. Most of us use AI daily without much thought when using software like autocorrect or when shopping on websites that utilize cookies to create more personalized suggestions. But with all of its productive uses, AI still has its pitfalls, and for some those consequences outweigh its benefits.
In the schooling industry, AI has begun creating problems. Software has been created for students to simply input topics and receive essays or ideas at ease. Junior Maddie Epler said, “I think AIs are ruining the value of education in students. Essentially, by allowing a robot to complete the learning for you, you’re losing sight of the purpose education is supposed to hold.” Academic AI has created integrity issues across borders, as many teachers are running into AI-created or aided work. There are those who have created AI detection software to combat this issue, but they are not foolproof, and the issue still very much remains and will likely only get worse as technology advances.
People have also grown to worry about labor markets in the face of AI. AIs have been and continue to be created that diminish the need for specific jobs in their industries such as that of an investment analyst or customer service representative. Artists share these concerns as software has been created to digitally create music and paintings—lessening the market for commissioned artwork. AI software can make the production process and customer relations far more efficient, but at what cost?
Detrimental to society or not, AI is here to stay. The market for AI only continues to grow as the world shifts to become even more centrally digitized. With no limitations, where will AI take us next?