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Artificial Intelligence: A Door to the Future

Artificial Intelligence: A Door to the Future (And the Future is Now)

by Ennio Fatuzzo and Carol L. Fatuzzo

 

Brain. Cpu. Circuit board. Vector illustration. Eps 10“2016: The year artificial intelligence exploded.” This is the title of a recent article in the SD Times that begins like this:

“Artificial intelligence isn’t a new concept. It is something that companies and businesses have been trying to implement (and something that society has feared) for decades. However, with all the recent advancements to democratize artificial intelligence and use it for good, almost every company started to turn to this technology and technique in 2016.”1

The article goes on to give examples of recent developments by Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and IBM. These are interesting, but only touch the surface of this rapidly developing technology area.

A December article in the New York Times Magazine2 does more to open one’s eyes to progress and competition in this explosive area of technology which has developed mostly “under the radar.” The title of the Times’ article is informative: “The Great A.I. Awakening: How Google used artificial intelligence to transform Google Translate, one of its more popular services — and how machine learning is poised to reinvent computing itself.” The article tells the story of how Google formed a new department (Google Brain) to focus on artificial neural networks and how that led to the radical transformation of their machine translation platform.

However, the Times article does more than focus on Google’s advances. It considers some of the broader issues associated with A.I. In the author’s own words:

“Google’s decision to reorganize itself around A.I. was the first major manifestation of what has become an industry wide machine-learning delirium. Over the past four years, six companies in particular — Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and the Chinese firm Baidu — have touched off an arms race for A.I. talent, particularly within universities… What is at stake is not just one more piecemeal innovation but control over what very well could represent an entirely new computational platform: pervasive, ambient artificial intelligence.”

Pervasive, ambient artificial intelligence— the author’s words. But is that in the future, or is it now? Virtual assistants are everywhere. And Google Brain is only one example of the race to develop more and more products that parallel human intelligence, not only in memorizing data, but also in following instructions. Many companies are now working on machines that can self-instruct on how to reach pre-determined goals. Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Baidu, a Chinese company, are all developing such types of products. A subsidiary of Samsung, a Japanese company, announced a machine-enhanced detection of breast cancers. And the list goes on.

But now consider a broader perspective. In the end, will all this effort on A.I. result in good for humanity or something else? For example, as we state in our recent book “Creating New Superstars”:

“We haven’t even mentioned numerous other technology advances with the potential for both great good and great harm such as robots with advanced artificial intelligence capable of learning and redesigning themselves and potentially acting independently from the humans that are supposed to be controlling them.”3

Consider what we said: robots with artificial intelligence, thinking and acting independently of the humans who control them. Such robots could theoretically be capable of redesigning themselves, or of designing and building computers or other robots better than themselves. And maybe these “super machines” could even rebel against the humans that originally created them.

Intelligent robots and other advanced artificial intelligence applications and devices may seem like science fiction, but new capabilities in this disruptive technology area are arising at an ever-increasing pace. This door to our future is rapidly opening, but what waits on the other side? Is it good or bad for humanity? According to experts such as Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates, artificial intelligence poses significant threats.4

But all major scientific and technology advances offer possibilities of great good or evil for humanity. Today:

“We have reached a room with many doors. Behind each door, there is a different future for us and our world. Should we open these doors? Do we want to? Will we?  The answer is simple: Yes, because humans always have and always will.”5

And, as we open each new door, it is up to us to follow the new paths carefully and wisely.

 

References

  1. Christina Cardoza, “2016: The year artificial intelligence exploded,” com, December 26th, 2016, http://sdtimes.com/2016-year-artificial-intelligence-exploded/
  2. Gideon Lewis-Kraus, “The Great A.I. Awakening: How Google used artificial intelligence to transform Google Translate, one of its more popular services — and how machine learning is poised to reinvent computing itself,” com, December 14, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/14/magazine/the-great-ai-awakening.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share
  3. Ennio Fatuzzo and Carol L. Fatuzzo, Creating New Superstars: Businesses that Soar above the Sea of Normality (USA: September 2016) p. 261. Available from amazon: http://amzn.to/2hAn6dy
  4. James Barrat, “Why Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates are Terrified of Artificial Intelligence,” com, April 9, 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-barrat/hawking-gates-artificial-intelligence_b_7008706.html; Eric Mack, “Bill Gates Says You Should Worry About Artificial Intelligence,” Forbes online, January 28, 2015, http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericmack/2015/01/28/bill-gates-also-worries-artificial-intelligence-is-a-threat/#684260ef3d10
  5. Ennio Fatuzzo and Carol L. Fatuzzo, Creating New Superstars: Businesses that Soar above the Sea of Normality (USA: September 2016), p. 259. (Available from amazon: http://amzn.to/2hAn6dy)
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