A question has come up time and time again regarding the future of technology with regard to artificial intelligence (AI). Is this something we should fear? Is it something that needs to be heavily regulated? Does it pose a potential threat in the future?
The first thing you need to know is what artificial intelligence actually is, and why it’s talked about so much today. Let’s go right into it.
If you own an iPhone, chances are you’ve heard of it’s Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface (more commonly known as Siri). When you start throwing out words like “artificial intelligence” one of the first thing that’s thought of is Siri. Although most techy people today would argue that Siri isn’t really AI, technically it’s really just a primitive version of AI that serves an exact purpose. Siri associates what words you say to specific things that it was programmed to understand.
An example is when you ask Siri “What does the weather look like today?”, it takes a look in an application related to the weather to give you the best answer it can find. When it does that, it isn’t really being an AI, because it’s merely following a preset command that says “When someone makes a sentence with ‘what’ and ‘weather’, go look at weather app” (of course that’s not exactly how it goes, but that’s just to give you an idea).
When we’re talking about AI, we’re talking bout the ability to LEARN and USE INFORMATION. That’s where AI becomes scary. That’s where we take the human “god given gift” of learning and endowed it to a machine, thus creating a something that can think and act as humans do, but without the emotion or sense that humans have. As they are still machines, they can still be manipulated and controlled.
There was recently a popular article published by Fortune Magazine about Elon Musk’s efforts to research ways to prevent harm to come from artificial intelligence. You can also see this video where Elon Musk made an appearance at MIT and warns against artificial intelligence. (play it at 1:00:30):
So What’s to Worry about AI Exactly?
When we really take a look at it, what exactly is all the fuss? The fuss is that if you give the computer the ability to learn, what’s to say it won’t learn to do things wrong? The process works like this:
- Computer is given a few stable pieces of information.
- Computer is given several resources to accumulate more information.
- Computer is given options to choose what to do with new information.
- Computer can reprogram itself according to new information.
In the 4th part, we look at the fact that it’s a computer that can change it’s own programming according to new information that it has gathered. We won’t get into all the nerdy details of programming, but you should know that it’s rather complex.
With that being said, what if a robot was to learn self-defense? You replace security guards with a few AI robots who are on a mission to defend their owner, and they know how to attack and disable an opponent.
Well what happens if that security robot comes to “learn” that humans are attackers and that it would be much simpler to accomplish security by attacking all humans?
That’s where people start getting scared.
Is it Really going to Happen?
At this time I don’t personally believe that we’re at the point at which AI is going to try to take over the world. However, I do believe that AI has the potential.
With rich guys like Elon Musk and Bill Gates expressing their concerns about AI, and opening their wallets for research to ensure it doesn’t go out of hand, I don’t know that I would worry.
At the moment we have our own wars and fights going on in our back yard. There’s already problems relating to fighting. We should be putting out those fires. Let’s leave it up to the people who really can do something about it to research and handle AI. In the meantime, let’s really try to make the world a better place!
If you enjoyed this post, leave a comment and let me know! Please also let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to hear about relating to this topic. See you soon!