You’ve seen the movies, read the articles, and have probably watched a few documentaries on artificial intelligence. But are we ready for a world that operates from a computer? I thought about this after watching a clip from The Wall Street Journal discussing a growing number of classrooms in China that are being equipped with AI. Cameras and brain-wave trackers are being attached to students so that teachers can monitor their progress, and many of the parents see them as tools to improve their grades. With China striving to become a global leader in artificial intelligence, this is just a glimpse of the future for them.
Artificial Intelligence, sometimes called “Machine Intelligence,” is intelligence demonstrated by machines in contrast to the natural intelligence of humans. It is often used to describe machines or computers that mimic cognitive functions that associate with the human mind, such as learning and problem-solving. Industry experts believe that AI has become too closely linked to pop culture, causing unnecessary fears about how it will change life in general. Researchers and marketers hope that by labeling it Augmented Intelligence (an alternative conceptualization of AI) it will help people understand that AI will improve products and services, and not replace humans altogether.
Assistant Professor of Integrative Biology and Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University, Arend Hintze, categorizes artificial intelligence into four types. They are as follows:
- Reactive Machines: a machine that analyzes possible moves and chooses the most strategic move.
- Limited Memory: an AI system that can use past experiences to inform future decisions.
- Theory of Mind: a psychology term that refers to the understanding that others have their own beliefs, desires, and intentions that impact the decisions they make.
- Self-Awareness: an AI system with a self-awareness that understands their current state and can use the information to infer what others are feeling.
AI has been applied to a variety of technology. A few examples are as follows:
- Automation: a system or process that functions automatically. An example would be robotic process automation (RPA), which can be programmed to perform high-volume, repeatable tasks that humans normally perform.
- Machine Learning: the science of getting a computer to act without programming. Three types of Machine Learning are Supervised Learning, Unsupervised Learning, and Reinforcement Learning.
- Machine Visions: the science of allowing computers to see. This technology captures and analyzes visual information using a camera, analog-to-digital conversion, and digital signal processing.
- Natural Language Processing (NLP): the processing of human language for a computer program.
- Robotics: a field of engineering that focuses on the design and manufacturing of robots. Robots are often used to perform tasks that are too difficult for humans to perform consistently.
- Self-Driving Cars: piloting a car by using computer vision, image recognition, and deep learning.
Artificial Intelligence has made its way into the fields of healthcare, business, education, finance, law, entertainment, and manufacturing. So whether folks realize its current impact or not, it’s here and it’s going to expand. The only big security and ethical concerns regarding AI pertain to hacking. Many hackers use Machine Learning tools to gain access to sensitive systems, which can pose a serious problem for civilians.
My biggest concern is how far artificial intelligence will go. Our planet is dying, water is polluted, food is poisoned, skies are intoxicated, and us humans are already genetically modified. So the “Powers” who support AI have to support it for a reason. Saying that machines and robots won’t be replacing humans all the while killing humans, animals, and the globe at large seems like a contradiction. But humane decisions have never been culturally relevant, at least not in my lifetime.
Until Next Time…