Is AI an Existential Threat to Humanity?

by Rabi Yahaya
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Is AI an Existential threat?

A few weeks ago, my friend posted a screenshot of an artwork done by AI, and we had an extensive discussion about it. Our discussion ranges from if AI is here to take away our source of income or whether it is the best technology to propel the world into a better place in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. 

We also explored questions like, Is Artificial Intelligence more functional than the human brain? Does it have the capacity to throw creatives and workers out of their jobs? Is AI an existential threat to humanity? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

These questions led us to psychological research, which stated that human intelligence is not characterised by one but multiple traits, which AI lacks because it is programmed by humans and can not go beyond what it has been programmed to do.

Research in Artificial Intelligence primarily focuses on the following components of Intelligence; reasoning, learning, perception, problem-solving, and language. 

According to Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and the famous SpaceX, Artificial Intelligence is humanity’s biggest existential threat. 

Research by prominent scholars working in AI today asserts that the use of AI systems, if not carefully thought through and developed adequately, could permanently cut or pull human civilisation backwards due to its use in malicious ambitions such as bioweapons leading to existential risk and threat to humans. 

These concerns have been raised since the inception of computing. But it has become more prominent in recent years, as technological advancements in machine learning have given us more substantial insight into what we can do with AI, what it can do for us, and how much we are yet to know about it.

This brings us to the question, what is AI? Is AI an existential threat to humanity? Is it the future? 

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? 

Artificial Intelligence, or AI as it’s fondly called, is the ability of a computer programmed to perform tasks that humans usually do because they require human Intelligence and insight. 

Artificial Intelligence is progressing rapidly and quickly becoming an everyday household gadget. From home assistance devices like Alexa and Siri to electric cars, Google’s search algorithms, and autonomous weapons. 

Read also: Artificial Intelligence in Business: The good and the bad.

Benefits of Artificial Intelligence 

There are so many good benefits of Artificial Intelligence that can change the face of every sector. Let’s discuss some of these benefits:

  1. Reduction of human error

Humans have been known to make costly mistakes in critical situations like medical decisions.

For instance, AI programmed to carry out a specific function will hardly make a mistake because it has carefully been programmed to gather previous information by applying a specific set of algorithms, limiting error and increasing accuracy with a greater chance of precision. 

  1. Useful for risky ventures 

Using AI for risky scientific experiments is one of the top benefits of AI. By doing this, humans overcome numerous risky limitations by developing an artificial intelligence robot that can carry it out without causing harm to humans.

For instance, in recent years, AI has been used to defuse bombs, explore the wonders of the sea and other planets, and mine oil and coal. Artificial Intelligence is also used to create tested unnatural disasters. 

  1. Available for use 24/7

Humans have limits regarding how much work our bodies can perform at a given period. With AI, there is no time limit as it can be programmed to work effectively and efficiently at a continuous rate. 

Read also: The useful tips you need as a UX designer in Artificial Intelligence. 

  1. Quick Decision-making

When AI is combined with other innovative technologies, decisions concerning work are easily made as it has been programmed to do so, unlike humans, who have to analyse a situation from different angles before arriving at a conclusive decision. 

The risks involved in artificial Intelligence are not as substantial as the benefits, but these risks can threaten the human race and human source of livelihood. Let’s discuss some of these risks: 

Risks of Artificial Intelligence

  1. Unemployment 

AI is now used in top organisations to carry out jobs previously done by humans. It is rapidly taking over jobs meant for humans leading to a high unemployment rate. 

Organisations are looking for ways to cut costs in the collapsing 21st-century economy, turning to AI to achieve this. 

  1. Highly Expensive 

As AI updates daily, the hardware and software need to update with time to meet the latest requirements. Machines need repairing and maintenance, which costs a lot of money. Its creation requires enormous costs as they are very complex machines.

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The future of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is changing the future of humanity across every sector. It is already the primary focus of emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics and big data. It will continue to be the face of both present and future technological innovation.

Transportation, healthcare, media, manufacturing, education, customer service as well as other prominent sectors will be revolutionised by AI.

Companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google spend billions of dollars yearly on AI products and services to make life easier and more effective. At the same time, the education sector is constantly integrating AI into a more substantial part of its curriculum. 

Read also: The future of software development.


Since the inception of digital computers in the 1940s, it has been proven that computers can be programmed to carry out both simple and complex tasks in seconds. Over the years, humans have developed and refined computers to work effectively. 

Artificial Intelligence has greatly improved the game of chess with excellent proficiency. Search engine results are discovered faster due to AI algorithms. 

Despite these advancements in a computer’s speed and memory capacity, no feasible programs can match up with human flexibility in terms of spontaneity regarding everyday life knowledge. 

While some programs have attained the performance levels of humans in carrying out some specific tasks, Artificial Intelligence is still limited in the sense that it can only go as far as humans want it to, which brings us to the fact that humans programming AI are the ones to be afraid of rather than AI.

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About Author

Avatar of Rabi Yahaya
Rabi Yahaya
Rabi Yahaya is a content writer whose works have been published by prominent websites in Nigeria.
Remotely works with local and international clients to create engaging content for brands. Creating compelling articles and stories that talk about issues concerning women. A budding SEO writer.

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