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Waleed Khan

Waleed Khan Adam Padgett English 102 11/11/2019

Adam Padgett

English 102


Artificial Intelligence Will be Positive, If We’re Prepared

In 2019, entrepreneur Andrew Yang launched his presidential campaign for the 2020

elections in the United States. As mentioned on his official campaign website, one of the main

issues he ran on was how to address the growing role that artificial intelligence will play in our

economy, and consequently in our lives. Yang’s focus on A.I. has forced other presidential

candidates to offer their insights on a topic that was hardly mentioned outside of academia

before. As the Overton window shifts on the acceptability of A.I. related discourse in society and

it becomes a more common theme of public discourse, it’s important for citizens to be

well-informed on what will be happening (Yang). Artificial intelligence technology will be

transformative. The changes it will bring about are comparable to those of the Industrial

Revolution of the 18th century and the information technology revolution of the late 20th.

Therefore, it’s important for people to be well-informed about what changes will happen and not

be alarmed. A fundamental question that many people ask is just how positive will the changes

that the advancement of artificial intelligence will bring on the global economy and world

societies be? This is an important question that more people should be asking in 2019, as we

stand on the cusp of these transformations. This research paper will attempt to address that

question. The vast pieces of evidence seem to indicate one thing: Overall, artificial intelligence

will enable humans to become more productive, expedite social development programs, and

improve the general quality of life, however American citizens must be adequately prepared in

however American citizens must be adequately prepared in order to properly take advantage of the technology,

order to properly take advantage of the technology, otherwise we will be left behind. Despite

wide-ranging concerns due to misinformation, it’s clear that artificial intelligence will provide

numerous productivity, social development, and economic benefits benefits in the future, if

Americans are adequately prepared for it.

One of the common arguments put forth against artificial intelligence is the loss of jobs it

may lead to. Indeed, on a global scale there is a consensus that the rise of artificial

intelligence-backed technologies will eliminate many occupations entirely. In 2017, Pulitzer

Prize winning journalist Steve Lohr published an article titled “A.I. Will Transform the

Economy. But How Much, and How Soon” in the New York Times. He cited data from Dr.

Yoav Shoham, the president of the A.I. tracking index and professor emeritus at Stanford

University. In regards to the loss of jobs, Lohr stated “Its [Stanford’s A.I. Index] projection of

the number of Americans who will have to find new occupations by 2030 ranges from 16 million

to 54 million — depending on the pace of technology adoption” (Lohr). Although this article

gives a rather unspecific range, it’s worth mentioning that even the bare minimum figure

provided, 16 million, is 10% of the United States labor force. Furthermore, if the implications are

so bad in the United States, then they would be even worse on a global scale. Although Lohr’s

argument is correct in theory, there is one caveat he forgot to mention: the A.I. Index does not

track net economic impact, just job losses. Therefore his claim is limited to just employment, not

impact on overall productivity (GDP). This alarmist view is disproven


by a 2018 article

from the Wall Street Journal titled “The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the World

Economy.”. It was written by Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a former employee of IBM and a

technology analyst at Citibank. It was meant to summarize and add to a report published by the

consultancy firm McKinsey in 2018. Wladawsky-Berger states that “AI will contribute an

estimated $22 trillion by 2030, which is 26% of the global economy. However, the jobs lost due

to AI automation will cost about $9 trillion to the world economy, which is still a net increase of

$13 trillion.” (Wladawsky-Berger). This article is critical to understanding why A.I. must be

embraced. It must be conceded that A.I. will cause job losses, but the net effect will be positive.

A GDP boost of $13 trillion over the next decade is a massive amount. To put that in perspective,

$13 trillion is the value of how much goods and services 1.4 billion Chinese citizens produce

each year (Americans produce $21 trillion).

Also, such a dramatic increase in GDP will certainly

cause increased jobs across sectors. Although, GDP isn’t the only way to measure economic

well-being, historically GDP growth rates have had a similar progression to general well-being

and prosperity, a notable example being the decline in GDP during the 2008 financial crisis.

Therefore, the proper utilization of A.I. will be a shot in the arm for the global economy. This

paper is not saying that A.I. will be harmless. Yes, A.I. will cause job losses, but that has always

happened whenever humanity advances rapidly. The industrial revolution made many

occupations obsolete. The information technology revolution did the same. However, these

revolutions created far more jobs than they took away. Artificial intelligence will do the same.

Therefore, from an economic perspective, artificial intelligence will be positive for the world.

Although A.I. will be beneficial from the economic perspective, it must also be analyzed

from an equally importance viewpoint: its effects on social development. Social development

refers to the advancements of important public issues such as healthcare, disaster response, and

gender parity. Social development is most often an issue in poorer nations. The effects of A.I. on

these sectors are explored by Amir Banifatemi, an executive director at the IBM Watson AI

XPRIZE, IBM’s artificial intelligence research and development site. In his 2018 article titled

“Can We Use AI for Global Good?”, he states that “artificial intelligence (AI) to build an

infrastructure to advance the United Nations sustainable development goals”. (Banifatemi). He

specifically mentions that an IBM hosted conference agreed on the development of “predictive

projects surrounding vision loss and osteoarthritis, integration and analysis of medical data”

(Banifatemi). The projects will undoubtedly be of benefit to the world. Banifatemi’s reasoning is

that artificial intelligence can be used to analyze medical data from the past and then predict

certain illnesses. This will have huge implications for the social development of poorer nations,

as a healthier population will lead to increased productivity and well-being of citizens. In regards

to healthcare, artificial intelligence will also play a huge role in terms of assessing the general

effectiveness in patients health.

This position is also enhanced by other sources.


Banifatemi’s position was also supported by the conclusion of a 2017 research paper

published by Pavel Hamet, professor of medicine at the University of Montreal and Research

Chair in Predictive Genomics. His article, titled “Artificial Intelligence in Medicine”, was

published in the Elsevier medicine journal. In the article, Hamet states that “Robots can be useful

in the evaluation of changes in human performance in such situations as rehabilitation. Another

area where AI may be helpfully employed is for monitoring the guided delivery of drugs to target

organs, tissues or tumors. For example, it is encouraging to learn of the recent development of

nanorobots designed to overcome delivery problems that arise when difficulty of diffusion of the

therapeutic agent into a site of interest is encountered” (Hamet). Dr. Hamet is saying that A.I.

nanorobots can be used to monitor the specific organs/bodily parts targeted during treatment

more effectively since they can go inside the body, something that external scans can not do.

This means that the doctors will get a better understanding of what’s going on during the

treatment process and adjust accordingly. The increasing use of A.I. in medicine will continue to

save lives and lead to healthier and more productive populations, as stated earlier. One common

counterclaim against artificial intelligence’s use, not just in terms of social development but

more broadly, is that artificial intelligence lacks the moral values that makes humans unique in

the world. In 2019, a peer-reviewed article titled “Autonomous Vehicles and Embedded

Artificial Intelligence: The Challenges of Framing Machine Driving Decisions.”. This article was

published by the University of Limerick in Ireland. Its authors were Martin Cunneen, a professor

of computer science at the University of Limerick, Ireland, Dr. Martin Mullins, head of the

department of finance and accounting at the University of Limerick, Ireland, and Finbarr

Murphy, a professor of digital finance and risk management at the University of Limerick,

Ireland. Although the article primarily focuses on the usage of artificial intelligence in driving

environments, the authors’ claims are applicable on a broader scale. The authors state that “This

is most evident in the inability to annotate and categorise the environment in terms of human

values and moral understanding” (Cunneen, Martin, et al). The authors feel that when human

lives are stake, as is the case with healthcare and driving, trust in A.I. may futile because it does

not possess human values and morals. Although this claim seems to be logical at first, there are a

couple of underlying problems with it. Who determines whether or not these human values and

morals are always good? Historically, we have seen that humans values and morals often get in

the way of making rational decisions, as emotion can overpower logic and facts. A.I., on the

other hand, will use logic and facts in order to come to the most rational decision in a way that

humans are not capable of doing. This is not a wild claim, as this is what logic suggests: our

emotions, fueled by human values and morality, can overcome our making rational choices.

Artificial intelligence will not have that problem, since they will not have our ideas of values and

morality. This is precisely why we must use it when it comes to important fields such as

healthcare, because human lives are stake. The gravity of the stakes add to the importance of

using artificial technology. Now, this is not to suggest that artificial technology based machines

should just be allowed to do whatever they want, no. That is not something I’m arguing. There

must be proper regulation of the systems, which scientists will determine through trial and error.

Therefore, artificial intelligence will be positive for our social development. Furthermore, its

lack of human values and morals can be used in a positive way, if it’s taken advantage of.

The counterclaim of artificial intelligence lacking human values and morals leads to

another counterclaim people enjoy making: artificial intelligence is used to spy on citizens. There

is a joke in the Washington D.C. community: prostitution is the world’s oldest profession,

espionage is second. The alarmists regarding A.I. warn of its potential misuse by governmental

organizations. In their defense, they appear to have good reason to have this view point. In 2017,

David Parnas, a professor of electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and an early

pioneer of computing, published a peer-reviewed paper in the ACM journal at Carnegie Mellon

titled “The Real Risks of Artificial Intelligence: Incidents from the Early Days of AI Research

Are Instructive in the Current AI Environment.”. In that paper, he discussed potential misuse of

A.I. by governmental organizations. He states “As artificial intelligence becomes more powerful,

people need to make sure it’s not used by authoritarian regimes to centralize power and target

certain populations.”(Parnas). His paper specifies that this technology has been used by two

countries for the purpose of spying on citizens: China and the United Arab Emirates. These

countries use facial recognition technology produced by Israeli software firms in order to spy on

residents. Then they give each resident a secret score, indicating potential threats to the regime,

peaceful or otherwise. In other words, it tells the governments who the protesters will be before

they even get the idea to go out and protest. Although it may appear that we should be alarmed at

A.I. for this reason, one key fact must be stated. This article, and indeed many arguments

proposed by the A.I. alarmists on the topic of government surveillance, predominantly apply to

countries that are already authoritarian. In Western Democratic countries, we do not have to fear

our governments using this technology to spy on us because our political institutions are strong

enough to resist government pressure when it comes to spying on citizens. Yes, in the post 9/11

era that have been instances of government surveillance, but that was strictly for national

security, not to predict dissent, which is what that counterclaim discusses.

Although Western

counter-terrorism operations in the post-9/11 era and not to predict dissent by citizens, which is

evidently a gross misuse of technology that Western governments have not been willing to cross.

Therefore, the argument that the technology will be misused by authoritarian governments is

proven to be irrelevant. Regimes will always use whatever technology they have to crack down

on dissent, that does not mean that inherent benefits of the technology for the rest of the world

are negated.

Some people may question the relevance of surveillance with the spread of A.I., but

the two are directly related as A.I. technology has enabled mass surveillance on a scale that was

not possible before.

However, this article’s discussion on the misuse of A.I. by China does lead

to another important fact. Americans must be prepared for the proper utilization of this

technology in order to take proper advantage of artificial intelligence.

In order for the United States, and the Western world, to be successful in our adoption of

A.I., we must look at how ready we are. Americans’ preparedness for artificial intelligence was

explored in a study described in a 2018 peer-reviewed article published by Illah Nourbakhsh,

professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. The study is titled “Teaching Artificial

Intelligence and Humanity” and was published in the ACM (Association for Computing

Machinery) journal at Carnegie Mellon, the same journal that Parnas’ earlier mentioned article

was published in. In the study, Nourbakhsh’s department gave tests to top freshmen in computer

science related majors and history majors. The tests asked questions on artificial intelligence,

ranging from simple concepts to more advanced ideas. The difference in scores between the two

groups of majors was within the margin of error and was therefore minimal. This led Dr.

Nourbakhsh to the conclusion that “In a time of accelerating technological disruption, the next

generation of leaders and innovators are ill-equipped to navigate this boundary chapter in

human-machine relationships” (Nourbakhsh). If a well-reputed professor at Carnegie Mellon is

making this claim in the ACM journal, then it does carry quite a bit of weight. If the youth in the

United States are lagging behind, then it is worth mentioning how things are in China. China, in

contrast, is rapidly accelerating its attempt to dominate the sector in the future. In 2018, Kenneth

Church, a senior researcher at Chinese technology company Baidu, published a peer-reviewed

article on Chinese progress in A.I. in the Natural Language Engineering journal at the University

of Cambridge. Church described his findings on just how far ahead of its Western peers China

had advanced. Church states that “There is a bold government plan for AI with specific

milestones for parity with the West in 2020, major breakthroughs by 2025 and the envy of the

world by 2030.” (Church). Then he discussed the major advantage that Europe, the United

States, and Canada had enjoyed over China: our educational institutions. Contrary to popular

belief, the gap between our universities is narrowing. Church states “The top universities in

China have always been very good, but they are better today than they were 25 years ago, and

they are on a trajectory to become the biggest and the best in the world.” (Church). As China’s

totalitarian system led by Xi Jinping, who was just declared to be on the same level as Mao

Zedong in terms of China’s history, steams ahead on the path of technological parity with the

West, Western democracies continue to bigger as societies become more and more polarized.

Indeed, the West’s recent shunning of Chinese 5G telecom operator Huawei and the CFO’s

recent arrest in Vancouver, Canada indicates the anxiety felt in Washington, Ottawa, London,

Paris, and Berlin. Now, there is a solution that may help us in our preparedness for this future.

We need to dramatically reform our own education system at home by including computer

science courses in the curriculum in order to better prepare our students. This will make our

students competitive on the global stage, because we will need to edge out not just China, but

competition from India, Korea, Indonesia, and Japan. If we can have our youth be better

prepared to take advantage of A.I., then the technology will truly provide us with the economic

and social benefits discussed earlier in the paper.

In conclusion, the implementation of artificial technologies will be truly transformative.

It will be as transformative to our societies as the industrial revolution was in the 18th century

and the information technology revolution was at the end of the 20th. To restate the main claim

of this paper, artificial intelligence will enable us to make great strides in terms of economic

production, social development, and the general well-being of citizens. However, in order to

properly reap the rewards of A.I., we must have a citizenry that is well-prepared and

well-educated on the subject in order to be globally competitive. In terms of economic output,

yes, there will be job losses, however, A.I. will create many new industries and job opportunities.

Furthermore, the total economic output gained due to A.I. will be a staggering $22 trillion, far

more than the $9 trillion that will be lost (Wladawsky-Berger). Furthermore, A.I. will have huge

consequences for the advancement of healthcare and medicine, boosting social development. A.I.

technologies will be instrumental in assessing patient’s symptoms for preventable, or at least

treatable, illnesses, such as vision loss and osteoarthritis (Banifatemi). A.I. will also play a key

role in analyzes the effects of treatment on patients through the use of nanorobots, providing

doctors useful information (Pavet). Although some claim that A.I. has a limitation, which is its

lack of human values and morals, this is actually a positive thing. A.I. will be able to make the

rational, logic-based decisions that humans can’t. A.I. will not be subject to the same emotional

stress as humans, as they do not share our values. Another counterclaim is that A.I. will be used

in authoritarian regimes for spying on populations. However, this counterclaim does not apply to

Western Democracies. Authoritarian regimes will continue to crack down on dissent in their

countries, with or without A.I. In Western democracies, we have seen that our governments have

only spied on citizens for national security purposes, not to curb our constitutional freedoms.

Finally, the Chinese government’s obsession with technological superiority over the West means

that we must prepare our citizens in order to compete with them. A specific course of future

direction is for Western countries to dramatically reform our education systems, starting with

primary school. Computer courses, with an eventual focus on A.I., must become a basic part of

the curriculum, just like English, Math, Science, and History. If our youth are raised with a good

understanding of the basics of A.I., then we will be able to compete with China and other rising

Asian powers. Furthermore, as stated in the main claim, our population must be well-prepared

for A.I. in order to properly benefit from the economic and social benefits it will provide.

Otherwise, we will see the majority of those benefits be reaped by prepared countries like China.

Works Cited

Banifatemi, Amir. “Can We Use AI for Global Good? | October 2018

Association for

Computing Machinery,Association for Computing Machinery, 3 July 2018,

Church, Kenneth Ward. “Emerging Trends: Artificial Intelligence, China and Baidu.” Natural Language Engineering, vol. 24, no. 4, 11 July 2018, pp. 641–647.,


Cunneen, Martin, et al. “Autonomous Vehicles and Embedded Artificial Intelligence: The Challenges of Framing Machine Driving Decisions.” Applied Artificial Intelligence, University of Limerick, vol. 33, no. 8, 13 Jan. 2019, pp.


Hamet, Pavel. “Artificial Intelligence in Medicine.” Elsevier Journal,Elsevier, Apr. 2017,

Lohr, Steve. “A.I. Will Transform the Economy. But How Much, and How Soon?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 Nov. 2017,


Nourbakhsh, Illah. “Teaching Artificial Intelligence and Humanity.” ACM, vol. 64, no. 2, Feb. 2018, pp. 29–32. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1145/3104986.

Parnas, David Lorge. “The Real Risks of Artificial Intelligence: Incidents from the Early Days of AI Research Are Instructive in the Current AI Environment.” ACM, vol. 60, no. 10, Oct. 2017, pp. 27–31. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1145/3132724.

Wladawsky-Berger, Irving. “The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the World Economy.” The Wall Street Journal, 26 Nov. 2018,


Yang, Andrew. “Department of Technology - Yang2020 - Andrew Yang for President.” Yang2020,Andrew Yang 2020 Presidential Campaign, 6 Nov. 2017,