Every once in a while something comes around to change the world we live in. It seems we are living in one of these times right now. Artificial intelligence is slowly but surely becoming the next frontier in technological development after the computer, the internet and even the smartphone. In recent times the movies are becoming more and more a reality as AI combines with our day to day life.
We here at Goosed have chatted about the insurgence of AI at length, what it might do, where it may bring us etc.All we have managed to do is argue like bitter little schoolkids about whether or not robots will take over the world. Seriously, there is a lot more going on with AI than simply murderous robots. So strap in, put the kettle on, we can wait, this one ain’t going to be short but please stick with us as in this article we hope to give you the inside track on everything AI. The Good, the bad, the possibilities and have thrown something fun in, well just because.
So, what is Artificial Intelligence?
To not over-complicate things, artificial intelligence or AI is normally defined as the science of making computers do things that would normally require a human level of intelligence to complete. AI has had some success stories in recent times, think Siri, Bixby or Alexa to name a few. In my humble opinion, I personally believe there is a distinct difference between Artificial Intelligence such as these programs which are built to fulfil specific purposes and what I would call robot consciousness, which by its very definition is attempting to replicate the human mind within a mechanical construct.
Since the inception of AI roughly fifty years ago, slow progress has been made. Something which seemed so simple in its thinking which has spawned a metric tonne of movies (Good ole Arnie) has actually proven to be profoundly difficult. This has probably added to the aura and appreciation of the monumental task of creating robotic consciousness. Thankfully, the Terminator won’t be happening anytime soon so creating robotic devices which can simply perform specific tasks with the intelligence of me or you is as much as we are likely to get.
Research in AI has focused chiefly on the following components of intelligence: learning, reasoning, problem-solving, perception, and language understanding. Doesn’t sound to scary right? these are things a puppy does and nobody thinks they will take over the world.
AI: The good
You probably have AI in your room, right now
If you’re reading this on a smartphone either Siri, Bixby or Google Now is floating around there in the background. The Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, if you have these at home, are AI. Really this is just the beginning. Fields such as medicine, science, engineering and space exploration are all dipping their toes into the world of AI if not for the personal assistant aspects alone. Think how amazing it would be allowing people to receive help with day-to-day tasks or find useful information in specialised domains like medicine. Instant diagnosis, cleaner and more effective surgeries and less death. Win
Unfortunately, artificial intelligence has drawn some rather extreme headlines and there are a rake of doomsday predictions – which we will come to later. But without a doubt the level of good that can come from this kind of technology is outstanding. In fact, why focus on such extreme scenarios when there are many alternatives that would see a peaceful co-existence and productive collaboration between humans and machines? These systems could, for example, become partners or teachers, or perhaps even feel indebted to us, their creators.
Allow yourself to dream for a moment. AI has the potential to change how we live in a positive way, to such an extent that most of us can’t truly fathom how. But right at this second in your hand, you own a tool capable of tapping into any information you wish. We as a species quite literally have the knowledge of the world in our hands so naturally we tag each other in meme’s and watch videos of lads with floating cars. An AI system could help a doctor with a diagnosis, serve as a virtual teacher with the wealth of Internet knowledge at its fingertips. It could be woven into the fabric of our daily lives, helping us with everything from basic decision-making to driving our cars.
AI: The bad
When it comes to the bad, I think we all know exactly what springs to mind. Terminator, iRobot and Westworld all show something pretty similar. A world where machines have a conscious mind & an ability to make their own decisions based on logical as well as emotional thought processes.
The obvious doomsday scenario we always seem to jump to is the Rise of Machine, the takeover of the robots and the end of human civilisation as we know it. A number of famous faces actually believe that the robots will someday rise against us. These people include Stephen Hawking and our favorite supervillian Elon Musk. These are people who, to be fair, are geniuses. So if they claim that artificial intelligence or robot consciousness is something to worry about then we probably well should.
However, neither is a robotics expert and both their theories revolve around the idea that robots with emotions would kill us not because of the usual tagline “the only way to save humanity from itself is to exterminate it”. They believe our own inherent stupidity and inability to differentiate between creating robot’s purpose built for task and sentient glorified clones will be our downfall. We can see the reasoning for this to be fair some people are just dicks and others are a bit more “colourful” so why would emotional, learning robots be any different right?
But hey, we aren’t doomed yet, so back to good old Elon to save the world, when he’s finished being Dr Evil. He reckons merging man and machine to be the way forward for artificial intelligence and humanity. That or there’s a chance we’ll become pets to superintelligent AI and so need to start figuring out how to physically merge with technology to save ourselves.
We need rules of some sort
Elon is not the first person to have this argument, an Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom also reckons a powerful AI could wipe us out as in his own words a self-conscious robot would be “potentially more dangerous than nukes.” But once again let us not worry ourselves so much because this lad hopes to develop friendly AI with rules and intelligent coding preventing the artificially intelligent robots from taking over.
Simply do not worry because like we use our smartphones, Bostrom is developing a chip which when implanted into our brains will act as a switch to override the machines with our mind. Like a power button on any device. Apart from the popularity of such doomsday scenarios in science fiction, this outlook appears unfounded: there is currently no evidence to suggest that anything like this would necessarily happen. Perhaps even more importantly, we’re getting rather ahead of ourselves with these sorts of predictions. AI has indeed seen some encouraging and impressive progress over the last few years, but we still have a long way to go before we achieve anything remotely capable.
Beside’s that, there is a far more real world issue surrounding AI.The reality is this, robots will take jobs, like machinery, like animals and like tools before them.
Just for Fun
So after some scouring, we may have found the coolest but of artificial intelligence, we could find. His name is Cozmo and he is basically the love child of Wall-E and Eve. Made by the guys from Anki (they same group behind the PS4 game Overdrive) this cute little fellow is like a robotic pet that learns the more you play and interact with him. We couldn’t decide between the videos we wanted to show you, so here’s two:
And the other:
Serious robotic cuteness going on there. How could anyone think artificial intelligence could take over the world, it’s almost like suggesting a pug could end society as we know it.
It’s almost like suggesting a pug could end society as we know it
But back to a more serious point. Artificial Intelligence is happening whether we like it or not, so we may as well start getting used to it. As with any new groundbreaking technology, there will be latent fears as to what this means for us as the human race. Like the internet, computers and the humble car before it, adjustments will need to be made and in this case, possibly some moral legislation required. Whether you are all for the AI era or find yourself as an avid naysayer just remember this.
THE ROBOTS ARE COMING!
The Matrix is perhaps one of the best movies ever made about mankind’s battle with technology. If you’ve never seen the Animatrix but did enjoy the Matrix, well then you’re welcome: