AI aka Terminator?
The first image that comes to our mind when we think of artificial intelligence is that of the Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator. Isn’t that what we have seen in the movies and read in the magazines how the future will look like if we keep building upon the AI platform? Read on if you thought so too.
So What is Artificial Intelligence?
Anything which has the capacity or intelligence to follow certain set of tasks and make decision can be termed as Artificial Intelligence or AI. To name a few AI based gadgets, Siri, Alexa, self driven cars etc make a few modern day appliances which function on the platform of Artificial Intelligence.
Types of AI
Depending upon the ability of the AI to perform more complex tasks, AI can be divided into two categories – Narrow AI or weak AI and Strong AI or General AI. Till now, the kind of AI that we have been using are narrow AI. Developers and scientists are working together to develop strong AI, however, that might take a few decades or so to actually materialize.
Do we need AI?
That is one question that most people around the world are asking. The truth is, using AI definitely helps reduce the time taken to do a certain task. In fact, the precision that we get through using AI is not humanly possible. Several precision surgeries, missile attacks, threat monitoring etc are the tasks which are possible today only because we have AI running.
AI spells Doom for Humanity?
Despite the benefits that we have achieved from the use of AI, several imminent scientists and thinkers have been continuously warning us about the safety with regards to using AI. For instance, Stephen Hawking is quoted as saying “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
What is the concern?
If you think that AI will spring up as robotics with a machine gun in their hand trying to shoot all humans they see, then let me assure you that it is a far-fetched thought. Nevertheless, AI, when programmed to continuously develop itself and re-design itself keeping certain goals in mind, then a time may come when the AI development out-paces the understanding of human mind. If it comes to it, then earth will have a consciousness, which out-smarts the consciousness of humans.
Risks of Super AI
The only thing that makes humans rule the world is our smartness. Although there are creatures that far outweigh the humans when it comes to their physical strength, the only reason we stay supreme on earth is our brain capacity. If we end up developing a super intelligent being or computer, it will threaten our supremacy on earth. This might mean that we will have to move about in accordance to the rules set by the super AI rather than the other way round. It is hence of surmount importance that we analyze the benefits and risks of Artificial Intelligence.
If AI goals differ from ours
Scientists are of the view that unless we align our goals minutely with the goals of the super AI, there might be risk associated with super intelligence. For instance, if we program our self-driven cars with the objective of reaching X place fastest, the car might not take into account the speed that humans can tolerate or the obstacles that come in the way. Thus, programming very carefully and aligning the human goals with AI intricately is of utmost importance.
Automated Weapons posing a threat to humankind
When it comes to the automated weapons which are controlled through AI, the threat it would impose on everyone is undeniable if the goals pushing AI are different than ours. Another perspective of such weapons would be that there would be only a few people controlling the world if such a thing came to pass. These few people would be those who control the super AI; thus the fate of the world would be at the hands of selected few. Of course, there is also a point where the super AI exceeds the controls of all humans and hence, controls the fate of humanity on its own.
Benefits of AI
It is undeniable that if such a super computer or super intelligence can be developed, there is a possibility that Earth might be rid of all illness, poverty and war. In fact, the whole environment might be able to heal itself and humans may move towards a whole new era that can only be dreamt of or seen in sci-fi movies.
As we have already mentioned earlier, the precision that can be achieved using AI is unmatched. Therefore, healthcare is the field that benefits most from the use of AI.
Since the calculations and formulas utilized by super AI cannot be wrong, even as the super AI has the power to take into account all variables, the science of space exploration will take a turn for good when super AI is used to analyze, prepare and execute a mission.
Till date, no one person has come to the conclusion about whether AI would be good or bad for the humanity. Nevertheless, one can hope that with all the advancements taking place in this field, the only factors that play on ground are the ones which benefit the humans.