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Debunking myths about AI

Debunking myths about AI

Many people are worried about artificial intelligence taking over the world, and it’s understandable. When someone like Tesla founder Elon Musk says that AI is humanity’s “biggest existential threat,” and that it poses a “fundamental risk to the existence of civilization.”,the fear response is to be expected.

But let’s take a step back and take a look at the 4 most tackled myths and try to debunk them with our current knowledge.

The Reality

Computers and robots that can think and reason like people exist only in science fiction. 

Myths about AI assumes researchers will figure out how to imbue computers that can think and reason like people. Given the recent progress in AI, it is natural to assume that human-level AI systems cannot be too far down the road. After all, we now have computers that can recognize our faces, translate languages and beat world champions in chess and video games.

Myth 1:  Robots will replace most human workers. Once AI advances to the point of human-level intelligence, robots will be able to read manuals, take classes, and learn to do all our jobs.

Reality: Robert Gordon, professor of social sciences at Northwestern University, said that, in the 250 years since the first industrial revolution, there has never been a technology that caused mass unemployment, and there is no reason to believe AI will change this pattern

AI technology will certainly be responsible for some job loss. However, conventional (non-AI) software has been responsible for far more job loss than AI software and this trend will likely continue. E-commerce is devastating brick-and-mortar stores, but uses conventional software, not AI. Conventional rideshare software like Uber and Lyft is displacing taxi drivers. 

Myth 2: AI-based viruses will decimate our IT infrastructures.

Reality: AI will likely have more of a positive impact on cybersecurity than a negative impact. The ability to use AI to defend against novel malware is essential to defenders. This is balanced against the ability for attackers to create novel malware using AI and the larger attack surface created by AI applications

Myth 3: Vehicle manufacturers will stop making steering wheels. They will no longer be needed once cars, trucks, and buses have full self-driving capabilities.

Reality: People use commonsense reasoning to handle unexpected phenomena while driving

self-driving vehicles have no commonsense reasoning capabilities and may never have them.

Today’s self-driving cars use individual machine-learning systems to detect pedestrians, to identify lane markers, and much more.AI enables self-driving vehicles to “see.” However, the “brain” of today’s self-driving vehicles is still primarily conventional programming.

Myth 4: Defense manufacturers will soon develop Terminator-like killer robots.

Reality: The fearsome Terminator robot is not in our future because we have no clue how to build computers or robots that can think and reason.

Unmanned aerial vehicles without AI have been used in warfare since the US began to deploy them after the 9/11 attacks. These non-AI UAVs include drones and missiles that are either controlled remotely by operators at consoles or that find targets using radar, geographic coordinates, or heat-seeking capabilities. 


The sudden success of AI technology leads many people to assume that the intelligent robots of science fiction lore are right around the corner. They are not.To understand the impact, it is critical to first separate the fiction from the reality.