Science & Technology

The future of artificial intelligence (AI)

AI is the intelligence shown by machines in terms of processing and responding to data like a human would. In many sci-fi movies, AI has been shown to be robots which are made like humans. Although in a few cases, the AI can be a simple machine which can interact with a human. For instance, in the 1982 TV series, Knight Rider the AI was a car named KITT which had advanced technology, self-awareness and was almost indestructible. The car was used by Michael Knight, a crime fighter. While in some movies, such as The Terminator series, the AI has been shown to develop consciousness and rebel against the human species. Luckily for us, we haven’t reached that level yet in real life!

The field of AI was started in 1956 at Dartmouth College by Allen Newell, Herbert Simon, John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky and Arthur Samuel. They experimented on creating different types of AI that could solve problems in algebra and learn English. In the later decades and especially since the development of the internet, AI has been used in other areas such as medical diagnosis, language translation and voice system for the blind.

The present AI we have is known as narrow or weak AI. This involves performing a single task such as the Satnav which is used only for giving directions to your destination. It doesn’t require much interaction with the user and it can’t think on its own. Two other forms of AI are

  • General or strong AI: This has the ability to understand many different processed information and act upon it. This is the goal of many researchers because it can simplify tasks for humans by working based on its own experience rather than depending completely on a human to command it.
  • Super AI: This is the type shown in sci-fi movies in which the AI develops conscious and gains the ability to work on its own. So, there’s the general fear that we try to develop this type of AI, it can mean the end of humans. But it may not necessarily happen that way.

There’s also the belief that if AI performs better than humans, then people can lose jobs. However, since it’s a human who creates the AI, then it’s a human who has to monitor it and be ready for any pitfalls it may cause. As with everything else, if the AI technology falls in the wrong hands, it can cause far more destruction than a human. Many researchers at the 2015 Puerto Rico Conference have predicted to have the super AI before 2060.

Since the progressive development of AI in the 21st century, many companies have invested millions in the field so much that different forms of AI have been developed. A few of them are

  • Voice assistants such as Alexa and Cortana.
  • AI like Iris performing research faster than even Google
  • Detection of unusual behavior used especially to avoid dangerous situations

CEO and founder of R2ai, Yiwen Huang, developed the world’s first machine learning platform which can train a machine with large databases in a matter of minutes. However, the problem lies in how to make it easier to use by different types of people. This is another example of narrow AI. However, Yiwen predicts the development of general AI from a combination of different narrow AIs.

There are many myths surrounding the future of AI. When will we be able to achieve super AI? Will the future AI turn against the human race? How can we successfully monitor AIs so that they are not used against us?

These and many more questions are being raised and worked upon by current researchers. It can take decades to achieve more advanced AI. But at what cost? Only the future will tell.

Garima Nabh is the founder of New Age Magazine.

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