Artificial intelligence is one of the most intriguing topics today, and has been the subject of various arguments on whether it’s a blessing or potential threat. The field is particularly topical for up-and-coming software developers, many of whom will be at the forefront of building intelligent systems and shaping the growth of this powerful industry.
There’s no doubt that AI has captured the imagination of pop culture, and many films of the past few decades explore how AI is either a vast improvement for our lives or a cautionary tale. "I, Robot" for example is a sci-fi film that takes place in Chicago circa 2035, where highly intelligent robots powered by artificial intelligence take over all menial jobs. However, the movie also goes on raise another common theme in sci-fi: that AI-powered robots could one day use their powers against humans.
While such themes may seen to exist only in science fiction, world-renowned scientists have been quick to acknowledge both the benefits, and the potentially destructive power of AI as the field grows. According to the late and famed physicist Stephen Hawking, ”Success in creating effective AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization. Or the worst. We just don't know. So we can’t know for sure if we’ll be infinitely helped by AI, or ignored by it and side-lined."
In plain words, it’s when a machine performs an intelligent task.
AI is the opposite of what we call “natural intelligence” of humans and other animals. It’s an area of computer science whose goal is to invent machines that can work and react like humans; a science of making computers, apps, machines, and devices that do things that require “human intelligence.”
Bernard Marr, a frequent contributor to the World Economic Forum who also writes for Forbes described AI as, “the broader concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way that we would consider ‘smart.’”
A subset of AI called Machine Learning is also taking AI to the next level. ML provides systems or machines the ability to learn and improve without being explicitly programmed. In other words, the capability of machines to learn for themselves including the ability to analyze extensive volumes of data to identify patterns and predict outcomes without the need for human intervention.
The greatest benefit of artificial intelligence is that it promotes an effortless way of living by mimicking human decisions and actions without natural human shortcomings.
Today, artificial intelligence covers a variety of technologies and tools. Some are time-tested, and others are relatively new. Suggested searches, cyber fraud detection, virtual assistants, facial recognition, self-driving cars, and smart home devices are some applications of AI that are massively changing how people live and work.
What once seemed like a field of science fiction captured in books and movies is now having a tremendous effect on humanity. Demand for artificial intelligence systems is growing, thanks to increased data volumes, advanced algorithms, and improvements in computing power and storage.
Sophia, a robot developed by Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics, is one of the top-trending topics in AI and proof of the burgeoning industry. She’s an AI robot that can converse naturally with people, participate in high-profile interviews, and make 62 facial expressions. She’s also the first ever AI robot that was given citizenship in Saudi Arabia, and the first non-human to be given a United Nations title: UN Development Programme's first ever Innovation Champion in 2017.
AI is still continually reaching beyond the baseless limits and boundaries of what machines are capable of, thanks to Deep Learning, a subfield of machine learning that is able to learn through its own method of computing – its own “brain”, if you will.
Machine learning uses algorithms to parse data, learn from that data, and make decisions. Deep learning, on the other hand, is the technology behind the most human-like artificial intelligence. It structures algorithms in layers to create an artificial “neural network” that can learn and make intelligent decisions on its own.
Self-driving cars, virtual assistants, image recognition and colorization, automatic translations, and even healthcare are some areas expected to benefit from Deep learning in 2018 and beyond.
In a survey report by Narrative Science Inc., an artificial intelligence technology company based in Chicago, 62% of companies will be using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in the next few years. Forrester Research predicted a greater than 300% increase in investment in Artificial Intelligence in 2017 compared with 2016. International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated that the AI market would grow from $8 billion in 2016 to more than $47 billion in 2020.
AI’s exceptional and remarkable growth makes it something to be hoped for, but according to experts, it is also something to approach with great caution. Well-known people in the tech industry, such as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk continue to raise warnings about how AI could be very dangerous if left unregulated.
In his recent appearance at South by Southwest, Elon Musk (the man behind Tesla, SpaceX, and Open AI), reaffirmed his belief in the dangers of artificial intelligence considering the industry’s lack of oversight and the speed with which new technologies are being developed.
In fact, Musk revealed over a year ago that he bought shares in Google’s AI program (known as DeepMind), to make sure he could stay informed about the progress and potential dangers of AI. In 2016, DeepMind beat the world champion in a game of Go by teaching itself and learning independently.
Because of AI’s numerous uses and its human-like ability, its potential to be more useful in the future is evident and rapidly growing. However, it’s reasonable for technologists to be alarmed that AI could potentially act as a threat instead of as a tool to improve people’s lives.
While some are afraid of AI's future, many in the tech community are hopeful about AI’s remarkable potential. The question of how AI technologies will shape our civilization still has no answer, and will rely on how future technologists shape this fascinating industry.
For additional articles on upcoming technologies, or how AI and Machine Learning are paving the way for new technologies, check out Coding Dojo’s blog at codingdojo.com/blog.
This is a sponsored post by Coding Dojo.
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