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Columnist Maddy Piovano argues that artificial intelligence will never fully take over because robots will never be able to provide the same human connection that people do.

Many fear about the future of artificial intelligence and robotics. There are multiple factors supporting the claim that AI is in fact not a threat to humankind, but rather an advantage. One factor is that humans thrives off of social interaction and human communication, which robots evidently can’t provide. While online chatbots are a useful and efficient form of artificial intelligence, robots lack the necessary emotional connection to humans. 

In addition, while AI can replace certain human occupations, it also has the potential to increase job opportunities for people in the technology field. Lastly, as seen at Walmart, AI can improve the efficiency of employees without necessarily replacing them. Artificial intelligence is an amazing technological advancement and it isn’t a threat to humankind.

Most humans partake in social interaction countless times per day. Whether it’s speaking with family members, meeting with colleagues or ordering food and drink at a restaurant, social interaction keeps humankind moving forward. A study published in 1997 by Lisa F. Berkman and S. Leonard Syme, discovered that “people who lacked social and community ties were more likely to die in the follow-up period than those with more extensive contacts,” emphasizing the need for social interaction. 

People need social interaction to live long, healthy lives — and artificial intelligence can limit this. While AI can easily replace humans in various customer service jobs, the potential for AI to replace humans in the business world and other occupations based on social interaction is much more limited.

In addition to limiting social interaction, some fear that AI will replace many human jobs. Keith Block, author for The World Economic Forum, explains that advancements in the field of technology have historically created jobs. 

His claim is supported by various examples, such as “the advent of diesel, the internal combustion engine and electricity caused societal disruptions as workers moved from farms to cities, yet these innovations brought us Ford’s Model T, refrigeration, mechanised agriculture and an age of mass production that produced a new global middle class.” 

Keith suggests that while the structure of the job market may change, new jobs surrounding artificial intelligence will likely develop, as has happened in the past.

While AI can pose a targeted threat to white collar jobs, it will eventually spark a new wave of job opportunities once the initiatives are in full swing. Box is an “enterprise content management platform” meaning they deal with “sharing and accessing files,” as well as “data retention and governance.” Due to the relevance of AI in that field, their chief product officer Jeetu Patel discussed artificial intelligence in an interview for Forbes, saying it will “enable workforces to spend more energy on deep thinking versus completing low value tasks like data entry. With work that can be automated, enterprises can redistribute talent resources and gain cost savings.” 

Overall, artificial intelligence will benefit humankind greatly without posing a threat to our society. AI will replace some tedious forms of labor will be replaced in the workplace, developing our society to be higher functioning and more successful. While there are many pros and cons to the integration of AI in the workplace, it will benefit humanity more than it will harm it. 

Maddy Piovano is a junior media arts and design major. Contact Maddy at piovanml@dukes.jmu.edu