Artificial Intelligence: The Modern “Tower of Babel”

By: Emily Goldberg  |  May 10, 2024

By Emily Goldberg, Publication Manager and Layout Editor

It all started in a Yeshiva University classroom. Sitting in an English class always comes with intense lectures about the consequences of cheating. With the recent introduction of artificial intelligence (AI), such lectures have become extremely anxiety provoking, especially for students who would never fathom committing such an act, in an institution that has falsely accused students of cheating with AI numerous times. 

Therefore, I refuse to open AI on my computer even though many of my peers have attempted to convince me that AI has positive benefits. 

Using AI as a means of cheating is only the beginning and it is extremely obvious that there are numerous reasons to be very wary of it. 

When the first computer was invented in the 19th century, Charles Babbage couldn’t have imagined how his invention would develop into modern technology. While such technology has presented immense benefits for the advancement of modern society, the fear of the unknown is extremely unsettling when it comes to AI. 

The rapid pace at which AI is progressing is dangerously overwhelming. Although it may seem like AI is not a threat, it is important to be cautious about the role it will inevitably assume in the future. One day, the negative consequences of AI will be uncontrollable, and it could destroy the world. 

I feel like I am living in a modern day 1984 and AI is Big Brother. 

The way that AI is currently used as part of the writing process is extremely worrisome. When using AI as a tool for writing, many claim that the software is solely a starting point for formulating their ideas or outlines. However, the development of one’s own ideas is an integral part of writing. Simply formulating an outline helps the writer develop their critical analysis skills and creativity. Once AI is introduced into the mix, that all goes away: the creative process is completely destroyed. Instead, AI comes up with the idea, makes the outline, and in some cases, even writes the entire piece. With this, people could entirely lose the ability to think for themselves. 

Many have pushed this aside, claiming that AI is simply a useful tool but will never assume control entirely. However, in the future, this could lead to AI writing virtually everything that exists and as a result, not only will humans lose all their critical thinking skills, but will also be solely influenced by AI’s writing. 

According to an article in CNN, “Goldman Sachs economists have estimated that 300 million full-time jobs across the globe could be automated in some way by the newest wave of AI, with up to a quarter of all jobs being completely done by AI.” These statistics are petrifying, demonstrating the extent of the role AI could take in the world. It could erase a large chunk of the job market, and by dominating labor on a global scale, will have control over a large portion of society. 

To put it in the words of my journalism professor Jason Gewirtz, “It makes me think about the lesson learned with the Tower of Babel: are we really meant to build artificial intelligence?” 

Artificial intelligence may seem like a useful tool now, but how do we know that it will not all come crumbling down? Like the story of the tower of Babel, what might start as a small group of people with an ‘intelligent’ and innovative idea might end up destroying civilization completely. “Are there serious risks and consequences we’re not aware of?” noted Professor Gewirtz. What the world currently knows of AI is only the beginning. As if the current version of AI isn’t already bad enough, imagine how much worse it could get once AI starts doing things we didn’t even know it could do.   

Anything in moderation can be beneficial. However, when taken out of proportion, what was once a helpful tool becomes extremely destructive. Elon Musk himself said that AI “has the potential of civilization destruction.” He also said, “There is some chance, above zero, that AI will kill us all.”AI may just be a helpful tool now, but in the future it could control the entire web, assume millions of jobs, and take away the human ability to think for ourselves. 

The rise of AI raises many questions about the future of our society. One day in the not so distant future, will we confidently be able to check off the “I am not a robot” box that ever so often pops up at the bottom of our computer screens? 

I am not so sure.