AI and What it Means for Our Future

What is AI?

AI, or artificial intelligence, is often what scientists refer to as the capability of machines or computers to simulate human intelligence processes.  These processes are characterized by perception, consciousness, self-awareness, and volition.  Some examples include the ability to learn, apply logic, problem solve, and plan (so think “2001: A Space Odyssey” or “I, Robot,” but hopefully less apocalypse-y).

 

 

AI’s History//

The idea of AI has been around since the beginning of mythology.  Several myths in Greek and Roman culture talk about uniting man’s reason with machine.  The majority of artificial intelligence development came about in the 1900’s, with important contributors like Alan Turing.

 

What are some uses for AI?//

AI is used in various areas of technology across the board, from credit card fraud detection to medical diagnosis.  Different forms of AI surround us, striving to make daily life as simple as possible by completing work for us in a manner that closely resembles how we would do it ourselves… kind of like that homework machine we all wish we had when we were younger.

 

AI’s impact on our future//

The continuous development of AI is vital to the progression of technology in our society.  Familiar invention concepts like the self-driving car all use aspects of artificial intelligence to function properly.  Artificial intelligence is truly an important facet of the future, and companies and experts continue to make that clear:

    

  • Dozens of new startups have been created to capitalize on the growing field of AI, and some go on to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in only a few years.

 

  • Some large tech companies are making headlines in AI.  IBM’s Watson (an AI program), recently learned how to swear!  Google bought the AI startup DeepMind for almost $400 million, and dozens of other companies like Facebook are making their own advances.

 

  • Experts predict that these “smart robots” will begin to hold typical everyday jobs, and work alongside humans regularly.

 

Although AI seems like an amazing concept, it can also be a scary one.  Often referred to as “humanity’s last invention,” dozens of experts, including Stephen Hawking, have warned about the dangers of AI and machine learning.  This fear arises from the idea that human values are complex, and the implementation of this values in robots could result in unforeseeable problems. Arming hardware with super strength and with human intelligence tends to do that (at least in all of the sci-fi movies this author has seen).


Regardless of whether or not AI is accurately deemed dangerous, development doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.  The most the public can ask for is transparency.