The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in human enhancement has sparked a complex debate, blending the potential for cognitive extension with ethical considerations. This discussion has been recently highlighted in a paper titled “Artificial Intelligence and Human Enhancement: Can AI Technologies Make Us More (Artificially) Intelligent?” from the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, exploring AI as a cognitive enhancer and as a means to achieve artificially intelligent behaviors. The paper, engaging with the works of scholars like José Hernández-Orallo, Karina Vold, Alberto Giubilini, Julian Savulescu, and Michał Klincewicz, debates the role of AI in human intelligence and moral decision-making.
Understanding Human Intelligence in the AI Era
The increasing reliance on AI technologies raises concerns about their impact on human intelligence. The fear that AI might lead to “human downgrading,” a term coined by Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin, reflects a growing apprehension about the potential diminishment of human cognitive capabilities. This concern is not unfounded; researchers, such as those from Norway, have noticed a decline in IQ scores, correlating this trend with an overreliance on modern technology. The central question is whether AI technologies are enhancing human intelligence or contributing to its erosion.
Public Perception and Ethical Considerations
Public opinion plays a significant role in the acceptance and application of AI in human enhancement. A survey by the Pew Research Center reveals a cautious approach among Americans towards AI and human enhancement technologies. The study found that while there is openness to these technologies, there is also a significant demand for higher safety and testing standards, especially in emerging areas like driverless cars and brain chip implants.
The survey also highlighted the public’s concern about the social equity implications of these technologies. For instance, a majority believe that widespread use of AI in areas like cognitive enhancement could widen the gap between higher- and lower-income groups. This underlines the importance of considering not only the technological capabilities of AI but also its broader societal impacts.
The Future of AI and Human Enhancement
Looking forward, the role of AI in human enhancement will likely continue to evolve, necessitating ongoing discussions about ethical implications, societal impact, and the balance between benefits and risks. As AI technologies become more advanced, they present both opportunities for human cognitive extension and challenges in ensuring equitable access and maintaining ethical standards.
In conclusion, while AI has the potential to significantly enhance human capabilities, its integration into our lives must be carefully managed to ensure it serves as a beneficial tool rather than a detriment to human intelligence and societal equity.
Image source: Shutterstock