AI named Sofia has been given official citizenship in Saudi Arabia | Image; ITU Featured Photos
Humanity has always been driven by intelligence. That is what has helped us to be on top of the food chain. The question humans have always pondered is, is there an intelligent life like us out there in the Universe. We have always looked towards stars to find an answer to this. But for some, the answer was always within. Rather than looking for intelligent life elsewhere, some started building their own and so was the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
What is AI?
What is an AI? In layman’s terms, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the ability of a computer program or a machine to understand its environment and learn. AI requires the use of big data and predictive analytics to provide inputs for the decision-making capabilities of an algorithm. If a functional process needs decision-making capabilities based on data, AI is a suitable candidate.
We need AI for the same reason why we need computers, trains, planes, and automobiles. To get things done easier, faster, reliable, save time and money.
Entertainment and Media today are run by AI in the form of Algorithms. We voluntarily input so much data into the system today, it has been easier for AI to learn human behaviors and help big data companies to target and micro-target potential customer. According to a study in the U.K, Facebook algorithms know when someone is falling out of love with their partner very much earlier than it happens. That is a prediction that is almost impossible for humans to make. It is scary that how much AI can learn about human patterns and behaviors, even more than people can.
With the convergence of Megatrends on massive data, lightning-fast processing speeds, and renewed competitive fever from the American MAFIA (Microsoft, Alphabet, Facebook, IBM, Amazon), AI is poised to cause disruption on a scale that could surpass the Internet itself.
We can pick any of the top websites or applications in the world, each one of them is run by some form of AI. Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tinder, Spotify, Reddit all are constantly improving and changing with the feedback provided by the algorithms.
Only half a decade ago to get a copyright claim on YouTube a content creator or a musician had to manually create a claim to YouTube to get the content down or receive monetary benefits from the content they created. Today YouTube algorithms are so powerful they can find out the copyright claims even before the video gets published. The uploader has the choice to either trim the video or pay the monetized amount to the content creator both of which are automated.
AI, an existential threat?
Like every technology, AI has its own Pros and Cons. Many of the tech entrepreneurs & scientists have opinions of varying degrees on the subject.
The CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company and Nuralink Elon Musk has this to say “I think we should be careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that”.
World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking says “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of humans. It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate”.
A quote from Bill Gates founder of Microsoft – “First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern”. J
Jaron Lanier the virtual reality pioneer stresses “We’re still pretending that we’re inventing a brain when all we’ve come up with is a giant mash-up of real brains. We don’t yet understand how brains work, so we can’t build one”.
Support rages for AI
There are people who support AI or at least are not bothered that AI might be a threat. Neil deGrasse Tyson the American Astrophysicist has said that he does not fear AI simply because it does not have evolutionary baggage that humans have over thousands of years and so AI will not have that ability to think like humans.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has constantly said that AI will be the future “Every time we improve our AI methods, all of these systems get better. I’m excited about all the progress here and its potential to make the world better.” Some others who share similar views are Sundar Pichai of Google, Ginni Rometty of IBM, Sebastian Thrun of Udacity, Carol Reiley of Drive.ai and so on.
Does AI pick up its cues from human interaction?
How much does AI learn from humans? Let us take “TAY” as an example. TAY is an acronym for “Thinking About You”. TAY was an AI chatterbot that was released on Twitter by Microsoft. It lasted all of 16 hours before Microsoft took it down. The reason behind this take-down is both hilarious, disconcerting and concerning. The bot began to post inflammatory and offensive tweets through its Twitter account. According to Microsoft, this was caused by trolls who “attacked” the service as the bot made replies based on its interactions with people on Twitter. A chatbot is a type of software that can automate conversations and interact with people through messaging platforms. Designed to convincingly simulate the way a human would behave as a conversational partner.
There are other examples where AI has behaved in a questionable way, like for example Bob & Alice the two AI programs from Facebook started to speak to each other in a language that was not programmed or understandable to humans. No matter how much AIs learn from and about humans can they really replicate our behavior or emotions to a degree that can pass the Turing test?
We are at a point in time where an AI named Sofia has been given official citizenship in Saudi Arabia. In a world where immigration is of such a big concern and debate where people’s lives are at stake, in the same world we are willing to provide robot citizenship!