Staying Ahead Of The AI Curve: The Imperative Of Prudent Planning

It’s been about a year since major headlines spoke of an insider at Google that felt that Artificial Intelligence (AI) had become ‘sentient’. Fast forward to today where AI is everywhere and has been stirring conversations ever since. It should be clear that while AI is a potential threat, it is ultimately a tool that can help us change our world for the better.

Doomsday Scenarios

Among the most existential conversations, a discourse has emerged surrounding AI’s potential dangers, distinct from other powerful technologies like biotechnology and nuclear weapons. While the latter technologies can cause devastation, they remain largely within our control; their catastrophic effects are typically the result of deliberate human decisions or misuses. The peril of AI, however, lies in the possibility it may one day escape human control entirely.

This is not a difficult scenario to imagine as AI evolves at an ever-increasing pace. As AI becomes more capable, it’s possible to envision escalations or self-healing based on learning, which position the AI to seek control or dominance over its own environment and the systems under its control. This subtle mission could potentially iterate thousands of times before anyone notices, and in a moment, could become the prime directive for the existence of AI altogether.

The scenario featuring an unintentional loss of control is the stuff of science fiction and has fueled Hollywood stories for decades. While there are self-professed realists that may write off the prospect of machines rising as fantasy, there are reports about AI, still in its early stages, experiencing illusions or things that aren’t real. It is also logical to project that when there are unexplained, illusory errors are at bay, it’s a perfect opportunity for significant flaws in intelligence.


There is also a conspiratorial, or enemy, scenario. This one lessens AI down to a tool and maintains its inherent power is undeniable. The true danger may not stem from the technology itself, but instead in the hands of the individuals wielding it, and the escalating race to gain supremacy that could lead to potential abuse against rival nations, adversaries, and competitors. AI is a technology we would like to neutralize, as it is surely in the hands of nefarious cyber-actors or nation-state sponsored groups.

The Good and The Bad

AI may not have to reach the level of so-called ‘sentience’ to present a terminal threat. AI only needs to do its job really, really well and over time be in a position to make high-quality decisions. The potential for catastrophic consequences is amplified by this posture and the slightest error or undesired outcome can prove to be disastrous.

As a society, we must strive to maintain control and engagement with AI, continuously staying aware of its performance and outcomes. Out of the box, AI should not harbor a malevolence towards humanity. Yet its evolution is necessarily dispassionate of human values in its pursuit of goals, which is a recipe for potential chaos. We must keep watch.

It is also important the AI story is not all doom and gloom. Not only can we keep watch and monitor the development and threat posture of AI, but we can also use AI to learn about cybersecurity and existential-level flaws, and to stay on top of anomalies and conditions that build into threats with more advanced knowledge. When taken this way, AI is just a very powerful tool.

Staying Ahead of the AI Curve

In cybersecurity circles, early AI technologies have been around much longer than they’ve been part of the public consciousness. For years we’ve been learning about the normal and abnormal, and analyzing and contextualizing data for the betterment of cybersecurity. Not only that, we’ve created dynamic, responsive environments that live out on the wire in today’s threat-filled world.

Our advantage in taming the tide of AI threats rests in our diligence in executing meticulous planning, construction, and vigilant oversight. While AI’s potential to outgrow human constraints remains a substantial concern, an even more intricate web of apprehension is woven around its potential misuse by malicious entities. As the realm of AI burgeons with ever-increasing potency, our consciousness must remain unwaveringly fixated on the repercussions of unintended consequences. It’s imperative that we nurture the emergence of AI through a lens of responsibility, firmly anchored in human values and aspirations. This ethical development approach not only insulates us from relinquishing dominion over formidable tools, but cements the foundation for a future where humanity’s destiny remains securely in our hands.

This article was originally published in Forbes, please follow me on LinkedIn.