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Science & Technology

Is AI a Blessing or a Curse? Ronald Sangunji Weighs In

todayMay 15, 2024 41

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Conceptual image of an AI symbol floating with a speech bubble above it to illustrate Artificial Intelligence digital chatbot. AI chatbot assistant concept

 

 

By Dilia Mazula 

 

As the tech industry progresses, it triggers questions and debates regarding the potential risks, particularly concerning AI. Fears mount over the potential harm that could arise if AI falls into the wrong hands and is wielded for malicious purposes. 

Numerous online reports have investigated AI’s capacity to manipulate and potentially deceive humans, with Deepfakes emerging as a concerning trend. Governments are increasingly apprehensive about the safety of their citizens both online and offline, given the vast amount of information being shared. For instance, the ongoing deliberations surrounding the TikTok ban in the US underscore these concerns. Such unease within the technology sector prompts the perennial question: Is AI a blessing or a curse? And what steps should be taken in response? 

In a recent discussion with Future Media News, Ronald Sangunji, founder of Adore Media Technologies Cc, explored the various threats and opportunities associated with AI, necessary steps for cybersecurity, AI’s impact on the job market, and the need to revamp the education curriculum for an AI-centric future. 

Technological advancement is not a new phenomenon. Ronald anticipates that the tech industry is only going to get bigger and a lot more advanced. 

Ronald highlighted that technological advancement is a continuous process, likening the current trajectory to past innovations like the automobile. “Over the next five to ten years, many things are going to change. When cars first came out, they were something new—that’s where technology is heading. A lot of things will be automated,” he said. He cited historical job displacement, such as postal services, as an example of how new jobs can emerge from technological shifts. “People created other jobs. So we might look at other creative jobs, maybe in music, or in other areas. Maybe there might be somebody specifically hired just to detect the different shades of color. It’s an interesting path,” he explained. 

Looking at how fast the tech industry is growing, he argued that Namibia’s current education system is outdated by about 50 years. “I believe it’s delayed by close to 50 years,” he asserted. He emphasized the ease of accessing knowledge online today, contrasting it with the lengthy traditional academic paths. “In my field of study, where it took me about three or four years to get that degree, someone else right now can basically go on the internet, watch YouTube videos, and do the exact same thing that I do.” He shared an example of a recent employee who, despite lacking formal education, exhibited exceptional coding skills learned online. Ronald believes that a significant transformation in education is already underway. “We will need to adapt, and that would involve learning new skills and finding other ways to learn much faster,” he said. 

One of Ronald’s primary concerns is the regulatory gap in AI development and data usage. He warned that AI systems could perpetuate biases present in their training data, potentially leading to societal harm. “If AI is mainly trained on data that allows for racism, then that’s what you would find at the end of the day,” he stated. Ronald stressed the importance of regulating AI to ensure it does not reinforce existing inequalities or unethical behaviors. 

He also highlighted the significance of cybersecurity, especially in Namibia, where investment in IT infrastructure is lacking. “We don’t invest in our IT sector as much as it’s portrayed to be, and therefore, it gives us a few disadvantages,” he noted. He suggested that every government agency should have a dedicated cybersecurity team and emphasized the importance of educating the public about cybersecurity practices. “We need to be educated, and that would be another thing that we crucially need to do,” he said. 

Ronald applauds the growing influence of AI and social media in shaping communications, relationships, and business practices. 

Ronald concluded that the impact of AI largely depends on the ethical responsibilities of those who develop and implement these technologies. Without proper regulation, AI could have negative societal effects. “It’s not the program, but the builder and how they regulate that,” he emphasized. He warned that AI, if not properly regulated, could exacerbate social inequalities.

Ronald also emphasized the importance of educating the public about cybersecurity practices and ensuring that individuals and organizations take proactive measures to protect their data. 

Ronald offered practical cybersecurity advice, likening it to basic home security measures. “The same way you should lock your house at night, the same way you should have lights on at night, from a security standpoint of view, I would say have a look at your online activity,” he advised. He recommended being cautious about online activities, using strong and complex passwords, and being mindful of the information shared on social media to prevent malicious exploitation. 

In summary, Ronald Sangunji’s insights highlight the dynamic interplay between technological advancements and societal adaptation, underscoring the need for regulatory frameworks, education reform, and robust cybersecurity practices to navigate the future of AI and technology. 

 

Written by: Dilia Mazula

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