Tokyo, Japan has, undoubtably, one of the most unique residents within its city limits. Shibuya Mirai is a seven year old boy, and his hobbies include, taking pictures, observing people, and talking with people. But unlike most residents, Mirai has no physical body. Shibuya Mirai is the world’s first “robot” to gain a status normally presented to biological beings. He is capable of large scale interactions, and, according to city officials, his role is to “familiarize some of the 224,000 citizens of the district with the local government and give them an avenue to share opinions with officials”.

This is only one example of the prevalence of AI in our lives. Albeit a unique one, Shirai is not the first attempt at creating a learning robot capable of interaction with a larger community. If you recall, Microsoft released an AI, Tay, in 2016 designed to communicate with Twitter users. Unfortunately, the program was immediately removed when the first thing Twitter users taught it was how to be “racist and how to spout back ill-informed or inflammatory political opinions”. That was fun.

On a more positive note, AI has also seem more positive applications. Self driving cars, delivery mechanisms, and drones are becoming increasingly relevant. However, even in these examples, AIs raise ethical concerns. How would an AI prioritize the value of life and how will it affect the social dynamics of a community and employment? There is a plethora of concerns when it comes to bringing a non-biological entity into our community. But I believe this is an inevitable path we must explore. The potential for good outweigh the costs. Implementing AI means that we can bring an entirely new work force into our resource pool. We move away from a reliance on human capabilities and we are presented with an army of supercomputers that can operate security mediums, transportation, communication, production, and more.

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