Already, there are positive effects of AI, such as features that can make driving safer. - IMAGE:Pexels/ThisIsEngineering

Already, there are positive effects of AI, such as features that can make driving safer.



When I was a little girl, Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” was playing one night on our old cabinet TV as a rerun on one of the networks. I’ve never been one for science fiction – except I really dug “The Twilight Zone,” so maybe I really am. But like it or not, I intermittently watched the action while I did something else.

It’s so long ago that the memory is vague, but I do recall the idea that a computer was talking to someone and, I got the sense, kind of taking over. I didn’t really know what a computer was, but I didn’t like this idea and don’t remember watching any more of what I found to be a disturbing movie that I couldn’t understand anyway. The thought of a nonhuman controlling us was scary and better left to a fiction I cared not to explore. Or was it fiction?

Of course, that was HAL, the supercomputer, who a space-traveling human character unplugs toward the end of the movie after “he” gets violent.

Some people are now asking whether we’re headed down a path toward a HAL with our rapidly evolving technology, particularly artificial intelligence, which seems to be developing so fast that regulators can’t even keep up with it long enough to write their regulations.

I’m watching it all unfold with measured remove like I did those many years ago as a girl, reading about the players and the applications and the ethics debates along with a lot of other people, and resisting the temptation to try ChatGPT because I can write my own copy, thank you very much.

As with any new technology, we never know how it will affect our daily lives down the road. Some innovations, of course, become tech laughing stocks and are soon largely forgotten, while others, like the internet, turn the world upside down. It looks like AI will be in the latter category. The question is how exactly it will change things.

Already, there are positive effects, such as features that can make driving safer and data analysis that would be next to impossible for people to do on their own helping businesses cater offerings to individual customers.

May AI developers and regulators find the right balance between leveraging the possibilities of this new tool while protecting us from any adverse effects we may or may not be able to imagine right now. The future seems unknowable and exciting at the same time.


Hannah Mitchell is executive editor of F&I and Showroom. A former daily newspaper journalist, her first car was a hand-me-down Chevrolet Nova.

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