49% of IT professionals believe AI poses an existential threat to humanity

William S. | October 19, 2022

Artificial intelligence (AI) is closer to us than ever before. The technology is gaining ground not only among the businesses that have employed AI to automate tasks and generate cybersecurity strategies but is also trending among everyday people who create AI-generated images. However, could AI pose a threat to humanity?

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, 49% of IT professionals believe innovation in AI presents an existential threat to humanity. Despite that, many other experts see AI as a companion who helps with various tasks rather than a future enemy.

The data is based on Spiceworks Ziff Davis's The 2023 State of IT report on IT budgets and tech trends. The research surveyed more than 1,400 IT professionals representing companies in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America in June 2022 to gain visibility into how organizations plan to invest in technology.

Nearly three out of four (74%) IT professionals think AI will automate tasks and enable more time to focus on strategic initiatives. By automating routine tasks and helping to analyze large amounts of data, AI technology can help people save time working on things requiring human interaction.

About two-thirds (67%) of IT professionals believe that AI will be a mission-critical element of their business strategy in the years to come. In addition, three out of five (62%) experts expect to work alongside intelligent robots or machines in the next 5 years.

On the other hand, some professionals think that AI can also cause harm, as 55% feel that AI will create major data privacy issues. AI processing uses huge amounts of data, some of which may contain sensitive personal information. Some of the data could be used to identify a person through analysis.

About half of IT experts believe that AI will put IT jobs at risk and that innovation in AI presents an existential threat to humanity. While most professionals expect more positive use cases of AI, we should be wary of issues it comes with. While AI's threat to society may only exist in movies now, we are not sure what the future holds for us.

Use cases for AI

Many businesses already utilize AI for many different tasks. They use the technology to analyze data sets, forecast customer behavior, simulate human decision-making, and categorize large, complex volumes of information.

In the next 2 years, 45% of IT professionals plan to use AI for data analytics. Furthermore, 41% of experts are thinking of employing AI for automation. Also, AI will be used to detect and deter security intrusions and fraud in 40% of surveyed specialists companies in the upcoming years.

One out of three (34%) IT experts plan to use AI for machine learning. Another third (31%) of professionals believe their company will use AI for transferring and cross-referencing data. In addition, 29% of experts see AI helping with web and social media analytics and natural language processing in the next 2 years.

One-fourth (25%) of IT professionals will use AI for deep learning. Furthermore, 23% of experts think AI will help marketing teams with personalized advertising and messaging. Finally, 19% of IT specialists plan to employ AI in robotics.

The AI we have today can benefit businesses by making various tasks easier. However, that does not guarantee it is always positive. AI is a tool with potentially harmful consequences if used in the wrong hands. Despite this, it appears unlikely that it will pose an existential threat to humanity in the near future.

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