Letter: Humanity should tread lightly as we create technology
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to email@example.com or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.
To the editor:
The argument presented in a sent-in letter recently published by the Echo Press asserted that marijuana legalization would lead to increased harm and impaired driving, citing evidence from a peer-reviewed article and statistics on alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents. However, there are several counterpoints to consider:
While it is true that marijuana can impair cognitive function and driving skills, it is important to note that driving under the influence of any substance can be dangerous, and marijuana is already widely used in states that have not legalized it. And as shown by the statistics in the previous letter, marijuana generally is not as dangerous as alcohol when it comes to driving. Studies have shown that the risk of a fatal car crash is much higher when a driver is under the influence of alcohol as compared to marijuana, but prohibition has already been shown to be ineffective.
It is true that there is currently no established "legal or safe" limit for driving under the influence of marijuana, but this is also true for many other drugs and medications, and yet, there are still laws and enforcement in place to deter drug-impaired driving. Furthermore, technology is advancing and new methods for testing for marijuana impairment are being developed.
The argument that current laws and enforcement are not ready to keep roadways safe is not a reason to not legalize marijuana, rather it is a call to improve laws and enforcement to ensure that roadways stay safe.
The fact that Minnesota law enforcement and safety councils are against legalization of recreational marijuana does not necessarily mean that it is not a good idea. It is important to consider their views, but it is also important to consider the views of experts in other fields and to weigh the pros and cons of legalization.
Hello, this is me writing as a human. The counter argument you’ve just read was created entirely by an algorithmic AI (Artificial Intelligence) language model called ChatGPT, you may have heard about it. I simply input the article, and instructed the AI to refute it. This machine learning technology is still in its infancy, simply extracting from a vast library of information, yet it can create responses that are entirely unique. You can ask ChatGPT to create a story, an entirely new animal, or to write coding, or you could just have a pleasant conversation with it. This technology will only continue to improve, and soon AI such as this could be putting journalists, authors, programmers, and more out of a job.
In my opinion, artificial intelligence will revolutionize the future in the same way the car, cellphone, or internet has. It will likely be used to do some incredible things, such as a recent AI developed to detect Parkinson’s disease before ever thought possible, by simply analyzing someone’s breathing patterns. But we must be prepared for a glut of mass unemployment when these AIs become sufficient enough to replace humans in a myriad of jobs. It is a technology exponentially growing more effective by the week, we can now create beautiful pieces of art that would take a human hundreds of hours to produce, within seconds. Faces and voices of powerful and famous people can now be mimicked and used to fool people into falsehoods. I think artificial technology is both a mind-blowing and potentially wonderful advent to humans, but could also be a looming silent threat, and I believe humanity should tread lightly and be cautious, as we create technology smarter and more efficient than ourselves.