Artificial Intelligence in The Future
By: Aysha Naurein| TOC August finalist
Artificial intelligence (AI) or hybrid intelligence has definitely taken the world by storm. From the smart phones we use today that can detect speech and identify faces to the human-like robots, we have come a long way. The idea of artificial intelligence was born as early as the Greek Mythology where there is a description of a bronze automation called ‘Talos’ which looks like a human. AI has become a very promising field of study. There are many machines that are designed to perform specific functions and can be programmed to do even more.
In the words of John McCarthy who is honoured as ‘the father of AI’ and also the person to have coined the term, ‘If it takes 200 years to achieve artificial intelligence and then finally there is a textbook that explains how it is done, the hardest part of that textbook to write will be the part that explains why people didn’t think of it 200 years ago’.
The ultimate aim of AI is to stimulate thinking and hence act and make decisions depending upon situations and making them think and act faster than humans can. AI tries to construct machines that can mimic human actions like in speech and thought. New developments in this field include auto-drive vehicles and it is quite obvious how sophisticated these must be, to be allowed on the roads. AI devices have even entered homes! The Amazon Echo and Google Mini are appliances can help in various activities of domestic life and also provide entertainment. There are virtual assistants like Siri and Cortana among others that are based on AI which will learn from our interactions and suggest options similar to our liking during later uses. There are many such developments that advertise smart living and try to make life simpler for us humans.
Today AI has replaced many jobs usually done by people such as accountants, receptionists, call centre service personnel and what not. It is no doubt that it will eventually conquer many more sectors of the work force in the near future. Humanoid robots like Asimo, Nao, Actroid-SIT are constantly under the public eye and each new development is celebrated.
Sophia is the first such robot to have obtained citizenship, specifically that of Saudi Arabia.
The first design for a humanoid robot was probably by Leonardo da Vinci in his illustrations. The famous scientist Stephen Hawking supported good development in this region of research and is famously quoted as saying ‘AI is either the best or the worst thing to happen to humanity’.
In about fifty years from now there might be a whole new era of AI. Robots will become a common sight like that in the Terminator movies, hopefully without the violence. All the features present as of now will be fine tuned. More machines will be available that can perform several types of work simultaneously and there is every probability that the use of AI for normal, daily mundane purposes will exponentially increase thus hopefully easing human life. However overdependence on these machines will gradually make people less self sufficient.
One such example is that the usage of mobile phones has expelled the necessity of remembering important dates, phone numbers and things of the like. People may later find doing even simple duties, tedious and tiring. There is also a controversial topic of debate that has one part saying that too much rise in AI will result in mass unemployment while the other part claims that with this development, there will arise several new job opportunities involving developing, designing, updating and troubleshooting these inventions. But as these professions require formal education and training in that level, it is not exactly right to say everyone will be employed. In a nutshell, the former argument weighs heavier.
The American inventor Steve Woznaik was probably of this opinion as he said ‘If we build these devices to take care of everything for us, eventually they’ll think faster than us and they’ll get rid of the slow humans to run companies more efficiently’.
There are several fictional movies based on robots some of which glorify them and some others which highlight the threat they might be to humankind. Some of the blockbusters in this genre are Teminator, Avengers, Interstellar, Star Wars. These movies indicate how interested the people are about robots and how much of an effect it has on them, be it positive or negative.
Another personal concern I have is that since generally man has a persistent hunger for wealth, success and development, there might not be much thought for the maintenance of nature. Because the world runs on nature and technology is just a feather on the cap it is necessary to ensure that the world is not suffocating. Our Earth is being exploited and unfortunately not replenished.
Even at present, the pollution levels in all aspects of the world and space are beyond the safe limit and will cause significant harm if not taken care of. There are, of course, several scientific methods developed to control the increasing levels of carbon dioxide which is a major constituent of the pollutants. But these methods prove to be expensive and nothing is known about the long term effects. Therefore it is wise to promote afforestation and reduce the use and production of materials that can adversely affect nature. It is crucial to see to that this tech-mania does not result in damage to nature.
If I were to design a robot, it would be constructed and programmed to plant trees, maintain them and make a noticeable change in the depleting scene of the world’s fauna. Since robots are invented with the intention to think and act fast, I feel that if such a robot is constructed, it will for sure, make a positive effect in the surroundings.
If this project is found to be successful, then it would be worth it to develop its features, increasing its efficiency and constructing a number of such robots to fulfill this purpose.
This will effectively reduce the negative effects of global warming, pollution and extinction of several species of flora and thus fauna as well. I feel this idea could be extended to design robots that can do other innovative things to protect nature. I would also make sure that my robot will follow the ethics of artificial intelligence and advocate the prevention of the weaponization of artificial intelligence. After all, AI was introduced to make human life better and it possibly will, if used in the good way it was intended to be.