AI – most commonly known as artificial intelligence.
As a society, we have already embedded AI into our normal daily livings. Do you search on google search engines? Do you use facial recognition on your phone? Do you have a voice-controlled device in your home? Most people would just think that these devices are just modern-day valuables.
But with technology increasing at a rapid rate, how far will AI go? Could AI cure diseases like cancer or HIV? Or could humans use a personalised robot as a house assistant? This may sound exciting to some, but one of the world’s most reputable physicists, Stephen Hawking, shows extreme scepticism towards AI.
The scientist explained at the opening of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (LCFI) at Cambridge University that AI will be “either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity”.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines artificial intelligence as “the study and development of computer systems that can copy intelligent human behaviour”, and Bernard Marr has categorised AI into four categories:
Reactive AIhas no memory, and only responds to certain stimuli. This is the oldest type of AI and does not have learning ability. It can only automatically respond to a limited set or a combination of inputted information. IBMs Deep blue – a computer that in 1997, beat chess-master Garry Kasparov – is the best example of reactive technology.
Limited AI uses memory to learn and improve its response. Limited memory technology is capable of learning from previously inputted data from the introduction of algorithms back in 2012, and according to Forbes “nearly all existing applications that we know of come under this category of AI”. Google search engine is an example of limited memory, as it uses algorithms from data inputted, but can also interpret data it observes, and adjust when necessary.
Theory of mind
Theory of mind AI understands the needs of other intelligent entities. Bernard Marr explains that the theory of mind technology “are machines [that] acquire decision-making capabilities equal to humans”. Theory of mind level AI can understand what it is interacting with, judging its characteristics and thought processes. Sophie the Robot is the latest milestone in the theory of mind AI.
This type of technology has human-like intelligence and self-awareness. These machines will be fully aware of not only human emotions, but of their own. Currently, this AI is not yet been produced.
What is the impact AI will have our society?
Computer scientist Dr. Kai-Fu Lee explained in an interview with CBS that artificial intelligence “is going to change the world more than anything in the history of mankind. More than electricity.” And here are some examples of how AI could change our lives. Whether for the good or bad, you can decide.
The obvious example that AI could change our lives is AI for personal use. Homes are becoming smarter and smarter, as most households now contain artificial intelligence. Smartphones are the best example. Statista states that 3.8 billion people have access to a smartphone, meaning over a third of the global population has access to a device that can augment reality, recognise faces and fingerprints, and can predict text. Additionally, the first-ever smart fridge was introduced in the year 2000 and has surged in popularity. However, Times reports that in the next 10 years it is predicted that households will contain a robot kitchen arm used for helping people with the cooking, smart showers with voice control, and shape-shifting furniture.
Believe it or not, cities are also using AI. Countries in the European Union – and yes, that does include ex-member United Kingdom – have started to implement AI, which according to the union’s website “enable[es]ing smart urban solutions brings multiple benefits, including more efficient energy, water and waste management, reduced pollution, noise and traffic congestions”.
Organisation ASME have reported the top 10 upcoming smart cities, naming Singapore, Oslo, New York, London, and Dubai as examples. Also, Forbes regards that in the “Chinese city of Hangzhou, an AI-based smart “City Brain” has helped to reduce traffic jams by 15 percent”. Moreover, sources predict that “automated visual garbage sorting using robots, visual inspection of power transmission lines using drones equipped with cameras” will be implemented, and potentially a microchip – that will be planted in a human hand – could be used for future payments.
Finally, it has been reported that various countries are starting to use AI in their military. Scholar Elsa Kania conveys that the “Chinese military and China’s defense industry have been pursuing significant investments in robotics, swarming, and other applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)”.
Contrarily, journalist Harry Lea explains that China’s interest in using AI or military uses has forced the US to take action, in which previous US secretary of defence Mark Esper explained that “China believes it can leapfrog our current technology and go straight to the next generation.”
Yes, the world does seem technological. However, how reliant are we as a society becoming on AI?
The future is looking like our homes may be reliant on intelligent furniture, but will robots fight future wars?