Artificial Intelligence: Real

Artificial Intelligence; non-fictional; closer to reality than ever before
Rahman Mohamed

It’s coming closer than ever, the day humans sit while the creations do the work: the creation of AI.  More than ever before humans are reliant on technology, non-humans that help them complete tasks.

If you’re reading this and you can imagine your life without email or the internet you’re rare (nothing against you).  They might not be classified as AI but Smartphone systems and online advertising works in a way that is more human than ever before.  They look at your patterns and realize what you’re you’re thinking; Facebook shows you ads based on your posts, searches, and interests; Google shows you ads of what you might like as your first results based on your search; Amazon shows you suggestions for what to buy based on your past purchases; Smartphones suggest words when you’re texting based on your past texts; their brains might be artificial but you can say that they are smart (aka Artificial Intelligence).

The self-driving car (aka the car that’s smart because it was made to be smart) is coming closer than ever before.  Not only are Google and the big car guys in on it but budding Tesla.  All its cars have self-driving technology.

Not restricting itself to cars science-fiction has incorporated AI for years.  Isaac Asimov, a science-fiction writer coined the “3 Laws of Robotics” that are used across science-fiction.

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law

Science-fiction has depicted the uprising of AI.  To obey the First Law (not harming humans) robots have disobeyed humans because of humans’ violent nature, not just in books but high class movies – The Matrix; I, Robot; 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The “Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence” (CFI) was opened at Cambridge University.  It’s an institute that brings together Cambridge, Oxford UC-Berkley, and Imperial College in dedicating resources to studying the good and bad of AI from multiple perspectives.

There have been continuous warnings, not just from science-fiction writers but academics: AI can help humans in a way no technology before has or can lead to the destruction of human civilization.  On 19 October The Guardian reported that at the opening of CFI Stephen Hawking said “The rise of powerful A.I. will be either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity.  We do not yet know which.”  He praised the institute saying

We spend a great deal of time studying history … which, let’s face it, is mostly the history of stupidity. So it’s a welcome change that people are studying instead the future of intelligence.

Hawking said that the creation of AI, a new technological revolution, would be able to reverse damage to the natural world done by the Industrial Revolution and eradicate disease and poverty

Every aspect of our lives will be transformed. In short, success in creating AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilisation.

With the growing use of Algorithms by advertising agencies on the internet, HAL 9000 (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) from 2001: A Space Odyssey, a science-fiction film produced in 1968 is closer than ever before.  It predicted that 15 years ago a computer with Artificial Intelligence guides humans on a space trip to discover the origin of a mysterious artefact on Earth.  Stating humans are jeopardizing the mission HAL takes control; it cuts off life support leaving crew members in suspended animation.  Humans are able to overpower it; they turn off the artificial intelligence and return HAL to simply computer status.

Human literature most often depicts themselves as the creators of AI but according to one writer homo sapiens and the planet Earth might actually be a robot.  Beginning as a radio show broadcast in Britain in 1978, A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams has become a classic, a comedic science-fiction in “A trilogy of five”.

Arthur Dent, a human, is saved by a friend who is not a native to Earth before the planet is blown up to make way for an intergalactic superhighway.  He later learns of “Deep Thought”, a supercomputer designed to find “The meaning of life, the universe, and everything else”; all members of the galaxy wanted to know why they were living.  Deep Thought says that the answer to the Ultimate Question is “42”.  To find the “Ultimate Question” Deep Thought designs Earth, a supercomputer run by the Trillians who appear to humans as mice.  Unfortunately, The Human, an artificial intelligence program run on the super advanced computer entitled Earth is destroyed moments before it concludes in finding the Ultimate Question.

Advancing faster than ever before technology today is a part of our lives more than ever before.  Some say we are more social than ever before, communicating with people around the world in an instant, while others say we are drifting apart, communicating artificially instead of face-to-face.  Communicating not simply through technology but with technology is closer than ever before.  The question: what will happen?

Artificial

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