What is Artificial Intelligence?
It was a question raised recently by one of the most prominent supporters of machine learning. There have been numerous such supporters, including many futurists. They are convinced that the progress made in such areas as computer science, artificial intelligence, etc., will provide humans with power and ability never before imagined, giving humankind a bright future. They also believe that their vision is correct and that we are running very fast toward fulfilling that goal.
In order to understand what AI is, we must take a detailed look at the methods and techniques it uses. Artificial intelligence is the ability of machines, like computers, to exhibit intelligent behavior, unlike non-intelligent behavior, which includes human or animal reasoning. The difference between the two can be illustrated using an analogy. What is a human emotion? We experience it in a variety of ways, from the calmness and cheerfulness of our children to the rage of a soccer fan. The same thing goes for machine emotion, the reason why the computer in your car can drive erratically all of the time, and why a self-driving car AI can perform seemingly impossible driving feats.
What is Artificial Intelligence Exactly?
Artificial intelligence is the methods and in some cases the tools, that are used to teach artificial intelligent computers to exhibit certain types of behavior, like reasoning and emotion. In other words, it is the method by which humans will one day be able to duplicate some or all or even most of those things. We are already using this technology, through programs like Dragon Naturally Searcher, to teach our computers to remember names. Likewise, Microsoft has a program called Natural Language Search, which uses a very large database of natural language to provide search results for nearly every type of word.
What are Artificial Intelligence’s current limitations?
Currently, artificially intelligent software is not able to understand human speech, cannot reason, think outside the box, or even tell the difference between reality and hallucinations. This is one reason that software programs like Dragon Naturally Searcher still have a long way to go; they still need a good grasp of the language if they are ever going to be successful at helping computers to understand and make decisions on their own. Beyond these limitations, artificial intelligence will continue to improve with new software and new hardware technologies.
What is Artificial Intelligence? Will it replace or be like human intelligence? Well, it is possible that artificial intelligence will be more like human intelligence, as we have already seen with Dragon Naturally Searcher. However, it is equally possible that humans will completely abandon the use of software to help their machines, meaning humans will become the primary source of artificial intelligence. The future of Artificial Intelligent software is somewhere between these two extreme possibilities, though as the first rule of science states, “you must study any new phenomena to know how they work”, I would say that the future of artificially intelligent software will more than likely be a mixture of both.
There are already many books written on the topic of Artificial Intelligence. They cover the subject from a technical perspective, in theory, and also from an ethical/social perspective. A great book to read to get a better understanding of what Artificial Intelligence is, its potential uses, and where it could go is “The Ultimate Guide to Artificial Intelligence: Understanding the Complexity” by Nickolls. This book covers every possible topic related to Artificial Intelligence and can be used as a primer for those who are less acquainted with the subject or even for those who want to learn more about it. Other good books on the topic include “The Ultimate Guide to Data Mining” by Datong and “Artificial Intelligence: Design and Applications” by Oxford University Press.
Benefits & Risks of Artificial Intelligence
There have been many rumblings within the industry about the possible risks and benefits of artificial intelligence (AI). These include whether it will replace humans in the labor force, impact education, and will it cause a collapse of the currency. These are all valid issues but not the ones that are being raised. One of the biggest risks of artificial intelligence is that it will be misused and therefore not benefit mankind. A major risk that has been brought up is that it could be used for malicious purposes such as manipulating the mass public that could lead to human rights violations.
In fact, there have already been a couple of occasions where the wrong information was passed onto the public. Take Google’s Artificial Intelligence project on the internet. Google printed emails that were purportedly sent from Osama Bin Laden. Although this was later proven to be false, the incident caused an uproar and Google was forced to apologize. Since then, they have been working very hard to prevent their artificial intelligent programs from ever crossing the line.
One of the biggest worries that many are posing is how artificially intelligent computers will work with all of the different cultures and philosophies of the future. Will there be no difference between men and women in business? Will all of the races be equal in their abilities to program artificial intelligent computers? Some might point out that we see this with the Men in the Iron Fist movie and the Cyborg in the future. However, it could be true with artificial intelligent computers in the business place.
Will the world go into a time where there will be no borders? Will terrorists use their artificially intelligent programs to divide the world? Will North Korea have nukes? One of the biggest fears of Americans when it comes to artificial intelligence is that it will lead to a divide between humans and artificial intelligence. Will we become a one dimensional society? How will artificial intelligence programs change the way we think and act?
One huge benefit of having artificially intelligent programs in the business place is that we won’t have to wait for humans to reach that point. We can program the future to be exactly what we want. The future isn’t set in stone and it certainly isn’t locked in stone by any means. That is one big reason so many people are afraid to invest in artificial intelligence.
So there are plenty of benefits of artificial intelligence. It’s time we start asking some really tough questions. It may be too great a risk to take. Perhaps you’ll consider all this in 2021.