Artificial Intelligence As “Simulated Intelligence In Machines.”
Investopedia defines artificial intelligence as “simulated intelligence in machines.” It is widely regarded as one of the greatest technological achievements ever. As the years go on, it will be the most useful technology globally, because of all the ways engineers are seeing it can be used. However while being the most useful technology to some, it is the most dangerous to others. This has caused much controversy but both parties can agree that in recent years, artificial intelligence has seen the most advancements. However, where the controversy stems from is whether or not the technology should be advancing. To provide some more background on the concept of artificial intelligence and what it is, it’s basically planting a seed of intelligence in anything that does computing whether it be a mobile phone, self driving car, or a website, and letting it gain intelligence on it’s own.
Artificial intelligence (or AI for short) learns from its experiences much like humans and fixes any mistake it might make. That means it can think for itself and act however it sees fit and it doesn’t need human approval to do so. That is the fact that has started the argument of whether or not AI should keep advancing. Due to the fact that AI-enabled technology can do whatever it wants, there are some people who say the technology is dangerous to mankind as a whole. Their belief is that a machine can never fully have the emotions that comes with being human and therefore won’t have the best interests of humans in mind when it comes to making and executing its decisions. A survey done by Pega found that 70% of the 6,000 people surveyed are fearful of AI and only 27% think AI can deliver the same or better customer than humans. That same survey found that even today, AI is already heavily used by humans. Only 33% of those 6,000 people believe that they use AI technology, when in reality 77% use an AI-powered service or device. There’s no denying that technology is very much present in the world today. We live in a digital age where humans are going to rely more and more on technology as the years go by so having something like artificial intelligence is a blessing.
Artificial intelligence is something that needs to continue to advance because as times goes on it’s going to be something that will help society in many different ways. Here are some of the ways in which artificial intelligence will help us and some of the ways it already is helping us. We already use AI today to get to where we need to go. Apps that utilize GPS like Google Maps and Uber calculate their traffic reports and route suggestions using AI. In 2017, Uber reported that they had fulfilled 40 million rides monthly. Which means in just a year, AI had been used 480,000,000 times by people in just one app. That number will only increase as more people use Uber and as the standard taxi service fades away. Another way we already heavily use AI today is in social networking apps like Facebook. When a picture is posted on the platform, AI scans the faces, recognizes them, and brings up a suggestion to tag the friends in the photo. Even when messaging someone on the social media app, an AI machine looks at what you’re typing and then proceeds to predict what the sentence is that you’re trying to type. Predicting is one of the things that artificial intelligence does best. One way in which this can be proven is in smart homes. Thanks to home devices that use the Internet connection in your home in order to function, virtual assistants from various tech companies like Amazon’s “Alexa” and Apple’s “Siri” can now help us control our home.
The AI in certain smart devices, like a smart thermostat for instance, can learn what you like the temperature to be at. It does this overtime by analyzing the pattern at which you change the temperature. It’s also helpful in saving money because one feature is that if it knows no one’s home, it’ll leave the temperature as is and won’t turn on any cooling or heating system. However these examples of AI being used are nothing compared to the more important ways in which AI is being used today. An important way in which AI is being used today is in identifying criminals. In an article from Interesting Engineering titled “17 Everyday Applications of Artificial Intelligence”, it is stated that “Scientists from Shangai Jiao Tong University have managed to develop a form of AI that identifies criminals with an accuracy of around 89.5 percent.” the article then explains that this is done by the AI using still photos of suspects and real criminals all without facial hair. The article goes on to confirm that the AI had a high success rate but also, as a bonus, managed to come up with typical facial features that might indicate a person isn’t law abiding. Another important way in which AI is helping society is with preventing heart attacks. This is done by the AI predicting if someone will have a heart attack by looking at their medical records and cross referencing them with patients who have already had heart attacks in the past.
An article by Futurism says that researchers at the University of Nottingham found their AI made more correct calls in 355 more cases than actual doctors did. These are just some of the ways AI is being used today. It’s safe to say that AI is only going to get more advanced from here. In fact, those advancements have already been predicted today, with some advancements already being done. AI today is even in our phones with Google’s “Google Assistant”, Samsung’s “Bixby”, and Apple’s “Siri”. While the virtual assistants are not on par with the “J.A.R.V.I.S.” AI that Iron Man from Marvel Comics has, they still improve the way a mobile phone is being used. All three virtual assistants can tell the user when to leave their home in order to make it on time to an appointment they might have registered in their calendar. This is done by the virtual assistant AI searching the calendar on the mobile phone, checking if there are upcoming appointments, and then as the time of the appointment nears, the AI will check the traffic and decide when the best time to leave is in order to make it on time.
Self-driving cars have seen a rise in airtime on the news lately and that’s largely due to Apple and Google having extensive tests being done with their very own self driving cars. In July of 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the tech juggernaut was in fact working on autonomous systems. Cook had this to say about the subject: “It’s a core technology that we view as very important. We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects. It’s probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on.” MacRumors reports that as of May 2018, Apple has 62 vehicles out on the road using their autonomous driving software in California. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, on the other hand has already begun testing completely self driving cars with their subsidiary Waymo. Waymo already has an area of Phoenix’s metro region all to themselves for the sole purpose of doing test drives with absolutely no one in the drivers seat. So while these two companies seem to have the best chance of creating the first perfect self-driving car, neither company will be the first to sell a self-driving car to the public. Billionaire Elon Musk’s company “Tesla” has already begun selling a self driving car, and has been doing so for quite some time now. In fact, every car that Tesla has up for sale as of July 2018 is equipped with it’s self-driving AI feature that Tesla has dubbed “Autopilot”. What the Autopilot AI does is use the eight 360-degree cameras that are on the outside of every Tesla vehicle to detect lanes and cars. With those detections, the car can turn, brake, switch lanes, and adjust its speed accordingly.
However, the Autopilot software and Tesla themselves have been under much public scrutiny lately because of accidents related to the software. With that being said, self-driving cars have much potential and the AI in them will only improve as time goes on. The accidents caused by Tesla’s Autopilot software brings up a good point: a machine can always make mistakes. That fact is the driving force of those opposed to artificial intelligence and its advancement. Another argument of those opposed to artificial intelligence is the trope that’s been used in Hollywood many times: What if the machine decides it doesn’t even need humans? This is seen in films like “Avengers: Age of Ultron” in which an AI robot decides that humans are what’s wrong with the world. This same idea is seen in the famous film franchise “Terminator”, so it’s no wonder why some people have this view on artificial intelligence. It’s not just Hollywood either, Elon Musk himself who is the CEO of a company who uses AI daily has gave warnings about the dangers that AI can bring.
At the SXSW film festival Musk said “And mark my words, AI is far more dangerous than nukes. Far. So why do we have no regulatory oversight? This is insane.” Legendary physicist Stephen Hawking has gave a similar warning: “Success in creating effective AI, could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization.” Hawking went on to say that “unless society finds a way to control it’s development, AI could be the worst event in the history of our civilization.” That last part of Hawking’s quote is where the answer is. If society can control the development of the technology, mankind is safe. It may seem extremely difficult to some, having control of a technology that advanced. However, have we not sent a man to the moon? Have we not put the entire Internet in our pocket? Yes, the Tesla Autopilot AI caused a man to lose his life, but does artificial intelligence not learn by it’s mistakes along with those who programmed it? Technological advancements are made every single day and we have always found a way to control everything that we’ve created.
Another reason why people are wary of artificial intelligence is because it is widely believed amongst both sides of the argument that at one point, AI will pass humans in terms of knowledge. Some believe the AI in the future will see no need for humans and will create its own way of thinking that even we won’t be able to understand. While this is certainly plausible due to the fact that the main feature of AI is that it can think for itself, it doesn’t seem likely to happen because of engineers knowing it in fact can happen. Engineers today are already working hard towards installing AI machines with emotions like compassion and empathy. The worries that people have regarding artificial intelligence have gone extremely public so surely the researchers and engineers working on the technology will take those worries into account when developing future versions of it. In conclusion, technology has advanced in huge leaps in past decades. We’ve created the car, the telephone, and the Internet.
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