Artificial Intelligence: A technology that can change mankind for better ( or worse)
What is AI?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the branch of computer sciences that emphasizes the development of intelligent machines, thinking and working like humans. This enables computers to do speech recognition, problem-solving, learning and planning.
When was first AI invented?
The field of AI was formally founded in 1956, at a conference at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire, where the term “artificial intelligence” was coined. However, coining the term was one issue, building the modern day AI is another. For AI to take shape, there are two things which was very important – the presence of data and the ability of computers to compute those data.
The old age computers were not capable of matching the vision of artificial intelligence. With the advancement of computation power and with the digitization of data in all fields, AI got the requisite infrastructural backbone that it deserved.
While data analytics, machine learning created a formidable pair in modern day technology, Artificial Intelligence researchers are going step further to give mind to the machines. While use cases may be simple improvement of customer experience or a more complex predictive analytics in the field of healthcare, there are a number of concerning applications of AI too in recent days. Deepfakes, psychological manipulation, communal polarization are few of the side effects we are seeing in recent days where AI technology has been leveraged to create deadly outcome.
What are the four types of AI?
AI can be segregated into multiple categories depending on how we are categorizing it. However, the most common way of categorizing AI is on the basis of how the algorithm works. On that account, there are four types of artificial intelligence: reactive machines, limited memory, theory of mind and self-awareness.
Reactive AI systems are the ones that responds to a current input but does not take into account any past experience. For example, IBM has developed a super computer that can play chess and has beaten Grandmaster Gary Kasparov in late 1990s. The computer can respond to the opponent’s chess moves but does not store any memory of past games.
Limited Memory AI systems are machines that can look at past and use the history to take a decision. But they do not actually learn and improve from these past records. They refer to the records only as a reference point to take decision about their present.
Theory of Mind AI systems are machines that can react to human emotions and segregate between one individual and another. They understand that each of us has thoughts and feelings and expectations for how we’ll be treated. And they’ll have to adjust their behavior accordingly.
Self Awareness AI systems are machines with consciousness built into them. These are machines of future and we are probably few years away from actually building them. But these machines are expected to not only understand and respond accordingly to a human but also feel and behave like a human.
The ethical dilemma with AI
In looking across AI activities, there are several applications that have raised ethical concerns. The concerns are not only about industries, job loss, data piracy or unauthorised surveillance by machines as often discussed but also the application of those concepts in particular domains and under specific political conditions. The current polarization around politics and policymaking complicates the tasks facing decision makers. Because it is not the technology or its algorithm that is a matter of concern but the way it is being put to use. And to ensure the right usage the policies should come from those who are elected to govern the countries. But if those decision makers are benefitting from malicious usage of the technology, like the ability to target individuals and influence their voting decisions, then there is very little chance of having a policy that stems the growth of such power.
This does not absolve the technology companies of their responsibilities. For the first time in history of mankind we have invented a technology so powerful that we ourselves fear of losing control to it. Hence it is very important that companies consider not just the ethical aspects of emerging technologies, but also their possible use cases.
The biggest AI companies and projects around the world
Deepmind is a London based company owned by Google that focuses solely on using AI technology to develop solutions for a variety of industries. They have recently used AI to build a predictive analytics framework useful in the healthcare industry. Experts believe that it has a potential to change the face of healthcare industry resulting in a more proactive approach to medicine.
Clarifai is a company that works in the field of image recognition by using artificial intelligence. This has a potential to be useful for content moderation in online media to helping investigative agencies to find out a person by using public CCTV cameras. The system can do facial recognition at lightning speed, filtering, and tagging for thousands of images.
Facebook’s investment into Artificial Intelligence is well known. The company has earlier used AI to show content to users as per their preference. The social media giant had also used AI technology in its chat bot program. However, Facebook had scrapped that project and is said to be working on a better version of the same.
DataVisor uses AI and ML in the financial industry to analyze millions of data points and pinpoint fraudulent activity. It protects finance companies from fake accounts, fraudulent transactions, money laundering, and much more.
Though these are only a few companies named above the research in AI has been picked up by all tech giants. Tesla has been trying to use AI to navigate their self driving cars, Google has been offering AI as plugin modules for users to build chatbots on and the example continues. While the technology will continue to grow and human race is surely to see many innovations in the field of AI in the days to come, everyone prays for a responsible development in the field.