Why did I do this?

My name is Olivia Brown, and I am an international studies and computer science double major at the Johns Hopkins University. The question that inevitably comes after this introduction is why. Why am I doubling in two things that to most people seem to make no sense together, and why on earth am I doing this to myself?

They’re fair questions. Sometimes I forget my pre-rehearsed answer and I start to doubt why I’m “doing this to myself,” too. Then I read an article, or listen to the Daily, and realize that although there are a lot of people out there much smarter than me, they often forget to listen to each other. In these cases, they need a translator, and that’s who I want to be.

The articles that remind me the most why I’m “doing this to myself” are the ones about Artificial Intelligence. As with most sciences, we now know we know just enough to know we know nothing. (No shame if you have to read that sentence twice.) Also with most sciences, the international community and politics and laws are unable to keep up. Artificial Intelligence has a lot of power, and some immense potential to change the world. However, without certain checks and balances, without a new sort of Geneva convention, Artificial Intelligence also poses an immense threat to the world as we know it.

I truly believe artificial intelligence can be used for good. I’m not here to scare you, just to let you know that the world is changing at a pace we all need to keep up with.

Consider the industrial revolution, in pretty much every country. Certain jobs that were once done by people were being completed at a much faster and consistent rate than ever before, and the economy changed. A lot of damage was done to the “losers” of this economical change, and to the environment. In most cases, public education increased and improved over the long run, as did laws to protect the working class against their employers and monopolies.

Now imagine what an artificial intelligence revolution could do. In just America, consider the ramifications of such a revolution for those who already feel as though they unfairly lost their jobs to immigrants. What would it create in the long run?

A lot has to happen before an artificial intelligence revolution occurs. For one, the technology would have to be much more accessible. Although it may be far off, if the political and legal world ignore the increasing presence and impact Artificial Intelligence could have, it will still be here before we are ready for it.

Thanks for reading!


-Olivia Brown, Sophomore at Johns Hopkins University