AI dystopia and utopia

“It’s likely that machines will be smarter than us before the end of the century—not just at chess or trivia questions but at just about everything, from mathematics and engineering to science and medicine.” –

Gary Marcus

Sci-fi Movies and Reality

What is next for humanity is unknown. However, we can predict what can happen with the real-time Artificial Intelligence technology use.

Have you ever watched ‘Terminator’? Regardless of your answer, it’s an action-packed sci-fi movie representing a world ruled by ruthless machines post-apocalypse. While these films entertain, they also shed light on fascinating facts about smart machines beyond mere entertainment. Well! You might think that movies like Ex Machina, Blade Runner 2049, Transcendence and M3GAN are just works of fiction, but it is not the reality. In the real-world, it is impossible to neglect the similarities between their stories and the ongoing real-world discussions about Artificial Intelligence. So let’s dive further to know about how AI can save or destroy us.

AI’s Ascent in Daily Life

Since OpenAI launched ChatGPT in 2022 – Artificial Intelligence has become a household term. On December 1, 2022 – Sam Altman, former CEO of OpenAI, tweeted about the launch of ChatGPT on Platform X. You can view the tweet below.

Exponentially, Artificial intelligence integrated into our lives, from smart gadgets to industrial settings, left wondering: Could this tech end up causing unintended trouble, similar to what we see in those movie nightmares?

Risks and Rewards of AI

In the world of tech, AI showcases the best innovation of humans. Artificial Intelligence technology has extreme potential to revolutionize several industries. The prominent sectors that promise innovation and advancement in the future include transportation, agriculture and education. However, it also brings risks and rewards.


  • AI brings tremendous progress – Facilitating solutions to complex problems and improving efficiency across industries.
  • In the domain of healthcare, artificial technology is doing great work. This includes tasks such as revolutionizing diagnostics, treatment planning and personalized medicine. Ultimately leads to improved patient outcomes.
  • A huge amount of data is thoroughly screened by AI-powered algorithms in the banking industry. It helps to detect fraud, uncover market trends and improve investing strategies. This leads to improved financial decision-making and resilient data security. Additionally, risk management skills and insights are increased.
  • AI enables us to accomplish things that were previously thought to be impossible. These include self-driving cars that manoeuvre through urban streets and efficient and accurate robots that carry out intricate medical procedures.


  • Despite its potential for transformative change, AI’s rapid advancement raises concerns. These concerns are about global stability and security.
  • Despite their sophistication, AI systems frequently lack moral frameworks and fundamental reasoning skills. This makes them susceptible to Manipulation, Biases and Unforeseen effects.
  • The absence of two important factors in AI algorithms and decision-making processes, transparency and accountability, leads to notable risks. These risks extend to Privacy, Autonomy, and Fundamental human rights.

As AI continues to evolve, addressing concerns proactively is essential. This involves implementing robust regulations, ethical guidelines, and responsible development practices. The goal is to ensure that AI serves humanity’s best interests without compromising safety and security.

Tech Leaders Perspective

The “Godfather of Artificial Intelligence,” Geoffrey Hinton, has expressed worries about the existential peril associated with artificial general intelligence. He quit the internet giant Google after almost ten years to spread awareness of the risks associated with the development of AI without careful consideration. Hinton emphasizes the importance of considering AI’s impact before further advancement.

Machine learning Ph.D. holder and creator of the AI Incident Database project Sean McGregor issues a warning, predicting a more than twofold increase in AI events by 2023. He draws attention to the difficulty of measuring AI-related problems, pointing out that, in contrast to traditional businesses, AI is devoid of well-established performance and safety criteria.  McGregor draws a comparison to aviation safety, where improvements are measured based on miles travelled. However, in AI, success stories often go unnoticed, complicating the assessment of progress or setbacks.

Geoffrey Hinton and Sean McGregor, are not only the ones who have expressed worries about AI. Yes, you heard it correctly. Around a thousand technology executives and researchers signed an open letter in 2023 calling for a six-month moratorium on the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Notable individuals like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Tesla creator Elon Musk were among them. Their main justification for recommending caution in AI development was the significant threats they identified for mankind and society.

AI Incident Database

The AI Incident Database shows some really bad things that happened because of AI. Some of the popular incidents are listed here.

  • The first instance occurred in 2015 when Black people were mistakenly classified as “gorillas” by Google’s Photos program.
  • In 2017, Facebook’s automatic language translation software mistranslated an Arabic post as ‘hurt them’ in Hebrew. This error led to the arrest of a man from Palestine.
  • In 2018, Amazon’s recruitment tool faced criticism for exhibiting sexist biases against women candidates. This criticism ultimately led to its shutdown.
  • Tragically, fatal AI incidents have occurred. A worker was unintentionally killed by a Volkswagen plant robot in 2015 when he was trapped against a metal plate. 
  • Two lost their lives in a Los Angeles car incident in 2019 when a Tesla Model ‘S’ in autopilot mode collided with another vehicle.
  • A Belgian man killed himself in 2023 after receiving encouragement to do so from a chatbot.
  • Moreover, a faulty robot attacked a Tesla engineer. This incident occurred at the company’s Giga Texas factory.
  • In 2023, a robot crushed and killed another man in South Korea.
  • A high school athletic director in the Baltimore region was arrested in 2024 for making a deep fake audio tape that was both racist and antisemitic, posing as the principal of the school.  This incident highlighted the escalating concern of AI abuse in schools. And the list goes on…..

Balancing Benefits and Concerns

AI has brought significant benefits across various sectors. It can process large volumes of data and improve algorithms, transforming industries like medicine, finance, education, agriculture and transportation. But there are concerns about how AI might overshadow human abilities. According to ‘The Guardian’, many worry that AI will replace a lot of human jobs, possibly 85 million worldwide by 2025. However, it’s also expected to create new opportunities. KPMG predicts that AI, machine learning, and robotic process automation (RPA) will be worth $232 billion by 2025. Statista says global investment in AI technologies is almost $100 billion now and expected to rise. In the military, AI’s impact goes beyond individual use. It affects global politics and security, possibly leading to new kinds of warfare. But as AI gets better, challenges arise, like issues with command and control. AI’s rise in South Asia, a region with many complex rivalries and security concerns, changes the military landscape. India, for example, is putting a lot of focus on AI in its military strategy. It collaborates with nations like the US, UK, EU, Canada, and Japan to obtain cutting-edge artificial intelligence technologies for uses such as missile targeting

The way resources are being used shows how important AI is globally. In 2022, India invested $3.24 billion into AI startups, while Pakistan, despite economic issues, set aside Rs 723 million to promote AI. Over 70 AI startups are active in Pakistan. 

Dystopia or Utopia – Still Unanswered?

There is no denying the critical importance of nations working together to develop regulations pertaining to artificial intelligence. This includes initiatives such as the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Amended Protocol II. As AI grows, it’s clear that we need to be careful. Stories from books and real life show us that we must use AI responsibly. In the end, the question of AI leading us to utopia or dystopia remains unanswered. It leaves the public to ponder the path ahead.

By thewonk