AI Artificial Intelligence
Sukaina Somani submitted this as part of the second essay competition, and resides in Ontario, Canada.
here is no doubt that the advances and gains made in technology in the 21st century are
unprecedented throughout every aspect of our lives. From banking, medicine, education, agriculture and production. There is not one part of the way we live, work, eat, access medical treatments or interact with others that is not influenced by the developments in technology, and with the general human nature of us always wanting more and always wanting everything to be done faster, it does not appear that the rate that advances in technology will slow down anytime soon. There is always an opportunity for other companies willing to step in and take over the market advantage.
Recently the advances in A.I have been exponential with early asthma risk diagnosis in children, to apps such as Chat GPT and other virtual assistance based apps which can immediately provide answers to any potential questions that we have. In today’s society we as humans are becoming more and more reliant on technology and have become less willing to take the time and search for these answers ourselves. Throughout this constantly fast paced surge in new technology, there is a feeling of it being overwhelming for us as humans to balance our wants and our needs, that can become more and more confusing as they intertwine, as more and more technology is being thrown at us on a daily basis. We as Muslims have been entrusted to ensure that any developments that are made should be beneficial to society as a whole.
Recently we are finding however that this is not necessarily the case, and that the task that we have been assigned is a lot more difficult than it seems. The advancements that have been made in the field of modern day medicine using AI have been immense and have saved millions of lives, from being able to diagnose patients, figuring out early intervention strategies, treating or operating on individuals , research on vaccines or drugs to prevent or cure disease, reduce recovery time for life threatening illnesses.
Whether these are treated surgically or with drug intervention these have all been without a doubt, benefited from the advances in A.I technology. These advances have also meant that access to medication is now more viable to countries that may not have had access to this in the past.
However with so many advantages, always comes the disadvantages that technology has to offer. A.I technology has many of the same advances, however it is unfortunately being used in a much more
sinister way. An example of this is the way that A.I technology is actually used by the Military in many
countries. In the wars, many soldiers have focused on machine learning and algorithm based warfare .
In May 2021 the IDF claimed that there was a military agency that used A.I in warfare and that they had
engaged with Hamas during that same month. A key concept that we as Muslims are ingrained with is the
idea of us humans having a soul. This differentiates us from other beings, animals and jinns. We as
humans have the concept of empathy and A.I is unable to recognise this which can then lead us to slippery slopes where we become immune to incidents such as this revolutionary technological advancement occurring in today’s world.
Another way that AI technology may be damaging and unethical to society as a whole is that it may not be geared towards every single member of society. The fundamentals behind AI technology are algorithms, which are essentially a set of rules for the A.I system to process and follow, however these
algorithms can be manipulated by various users to produce outcomes that a certain societal group may
For example there are instances where job opportunities are only offered to specific genders in
certain fields within the workforce, due to the fact that, in history, males have been seen as the more
dominant gender when it comes to A.I technological advancements, because they were stereotypically
believed to be more involved in technology. In a 2022 article by nature.com, males had run the coding for
A.I technology, however the downside of this was later revealed. When people began to realize that the
A.I was more biased towards males than females, they figured out it was because its algorithm had created a male mindset and thought of females as the non-dominant gender, after being programmed by the stereotypes that were used as ways to differentiate males and females in the past.
Another example of this harmful technological advancement is; Where specific races are targeted unjustly by A.I technology, because of their ethnicity or skin color. An article written by a computer scientist named Joy Buolamwini claimed that the facial recognition scans which involved A.I technology were by default, able to recognize white males or men of a lighter skin tone. It only made errors 1% of the time when doing a facial recognition scan on lighter skinned men, however for women it made errors more than 35% of the time, as they had not appeared as the default setting that these AI’s were programmed to successfully accept.
We as muslims believe that we are all created as equals and that we should therefore treat/be
treated the same, however these examples that I have stated above go against our fundamental beliefs and are seen as unjust/unfair for many muslims and people around the world. There are various benefits and downfalls of the advancements being made with A.I and it is important for us as members of not only our own local community, but also as members of the global community to evaluate our use of these
By examining our needs against our wants this would perhaps ensure that we are making informed decisions prior to choosing to engage in certain apps and technological advancements. By considering whether the use of that technology would definitely be beneficial to ourselves, and being certain that using this would not have any significant harm on others, would allow us to ensure that we choose to remain on the right path.
To conclude, I believe that the development of AI is to benefit society as a whole by increasing our intelligence and our ability to do tasks in more efficient ways. However, we should not forget that it is
our responsibility as beings with souls who have been granted the capability by Allah (SWT ) to be just
and to be able to see injustice, to speak out and to cease the continuation of organizations or individuals who are manipulating these technologies to benefit only certain members of society.
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