Like almost every new technological advancement, artificial intelligence has generated trepidation and even worry for many people. During a recent edition of Eyewitness Newsmakers, we tackled the complex issue.
Yannis Yortsos, dean of the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California, explained that he views AI as a double helix. He believes AI and humans can interact in a way that helps humans move forward and be able to evaluate problems never before solved.
Humans on their own aren't able to be as efficient with data, so Yortsos expects AI to be better used in complex settings like the medical and environmental fields.
When asked whether the technology is capable of learning in the same way a human can, he responded: "I don't think so. First of all, it is not clear that the way AI systems learn is similar to how humans do. I think this is a fundamental question that will be answered in the future."
As for concerns about AI replacing jobs, Yortsos thinks many positions that require thinking will be enhanced by the new technology. He also reminds us that many jobs people now have were not around 100 or so years ago and have been created as technology has evolved.
Artificial intelligence and its impact are difficult enough for adults to understand, much less teens and kids. Dr. Tyrone Howard, professor of Education at UCLA, discussed some of the concerns and benefits for young people.
"I think we're learning some things that we did not know, say three, five years ago that says that perhaps there are ways that AI can be helpful. Can help students who might need individualized tutoring, immediate feedback, personalized learning - those are good things," Howard said. "But I think there's another side that says in many ways, AI may have some authenticity issues in terms of student's ideas, creativity."
As a college professor, he explained how it's murky when students use AI for term papers. AI detectors have revealed some students use artificial intelligence for 100% of their project, while others use it more for grammar and overall structure, rather than content.
Dr. Howard also explained how artificial intelligence has positive uses for young people as a tool to help them learn, but worries this could further expand the digital divide, especially for families who don't have access to Wi-Fi or the ability to pay for these programs.
As for what parents should know, Dr. Howard encouraged parents to learn about artificial intelligence, talk with their kids about the technology and examine their school policies.
"So we have to figure out how to make sense out of this because AI is here. It's going to be here for a while. We have to figure out how we can use it to help our kids and not to hurt them, short-term and long-term."
Watch the full episode in the media player above.