Happy 126th Independence Day to all Filipinos! Whether you are here in the country or you are one of the millions of Filipinos working abroad, let us recommit ourselves to the vision of great Filipinos — Andres Bonifacio, Jose Rizal, Apolinario Mabini, et al — to build a great nation that is united and prosperous. Mabuhay!

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We were warned about it. Experts, security analysts, scientists, and movies told us that artificial intelligence (AI), with all its promises and advantages, carry with it existential peril. In an interview with the BBC, the great Professor Stephen Hawking stated boldly: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Movies like The Matrix, Terminator, Blade Runner and AI: Artificial Intelligence had shown us the potential dangers and misuse of AI.

While the rapid development of AI has been very impressive, several experts have noted potential dangers regarding its use or misuse. There are security and privacy issues involving large amount of data that can easily be accessed and used for nefarious purposes. Financial experts warned us about possible collapse of financial markets due to AI. 

Elections and democracy activists are worried about the power of AI to subvert the peoples will by amplifying disinformation. NBC, for instance, has reported that in the recent elections in India, the world’s biggest democracy just saw big spending on AI generated “deepfakes promoting or discrediting candidates that spread like wildfire across social media.” The deepfakes, NBC reported, use artificial intelligence to “generate believable but false depictions of real people saying or doing just about anything creators want. 

I can tell you that this danger actually happened to me, in real life, very recently. An old video of an interview I did in one of Forbes’ forums was doctored to make me appear and sound like I was endorsing an investment scheme that would result to immediate and surefire profit. 

I saw the fake video and it was actually very believable. If you are not the skeptical type of person and you do not have the time to investigate, you can easily fall for this type of scam. It appeared that I was actually uttering those words which I never uttered in my whole life. I immediately sent out a disclaimer that the video was a deepfake and was manipulated by scammers using AI. I urge the public — especially those who spend most of their time on social media and who get their information from Facebook or TikTok — to be extra cautious and suspicious of contents they come across on these platforms.

What this means is that it will become increasingly difficult to decide what is real and fake on social media. It would be easy for a campaign to employ AI to generate a video of an opponent saying false statements designed to discredit him or her. I think the Commission of Elections should seriously prepare for this scenario in the 2025 midterm elections.

Do not get me wrong. I think artificial intelligence is an awesome technology that can help us make life easier and simpler. AI has been used in architecture, data analysis, research and education, transportation, energy, trade and finance, and, agriculture. The field of medicine stands to benefit immensely from AI in terms of patient diagnoses, drug discovery and development, improving communication between physician and patient, and remotely treating patients. AI can help developing countries in mitigating climate change by helping in mapping at risk populations and improving early warning systems for extreme events such as typhoons and flooding.

I do not think that we should (I don’t think we can at this point) eliminate AI. What can be done is to harness its positive aspect and create a framework where its applications for evil intentions can be prevented.

What I think is very important to keep in mind in the fact that AI, just like any other technologies that humans have invented, is a really just a tool. How we use it depends on our real intelligence and genuine humanity. Of course, there are fears that AI machines will become more autonomous, ignore human instructions and rise up against humanity. But whether or not we get to that nightmarish, dystopian, existential danger is up to us humans. ([email protected] and/or