Who would have thought that technology would become such a fundamental part of our everyday lives?
In today’s age, we can find artificial intelligence almost anywhere. It is in cell phone devices when we ask for directions, set up personalized alarms or ask for restaurant recommendations. In addition to using a virtual personal assistants like SIRI and Alexa; we are now able to purchase household gadgets with artificial intelligence that can clean our homes, control our electricity costs and even use facial recognition to unlock doors or notify
us of intruders. These advanced gadgets are changing and improving people´s lifestyle significantly.
The benefits of AI and the proper use of technology are debatable. Thanks to companies like Tesla, Google and Uber there are now cars that can drive completely autonomous. Advocates for the technology say that there will be fewer accidents, better logistics, and less traffic. However, as we have seen from early trials, there are still considerable risks. Can we really trust machines to make decisions for us? What would an AI do, for example, if swerving will avoid hitting a pedestrian but could mean endangering everyone in the vehicle?
One side effect of AI technology is the loss of jobs in the service sector, and the retail sector seems primed to suffer the most losses.
Many private sector companies with customer service staff are now implementing artificial intelligence technology, for example, to communicate with their clients. Chatbots, as the name implies, is an automated messaging system that will manage customer support in an interactive way. Customers can instantly change their internet provider, ask for the latest promotional package or upgrade services. This is beneficial to both the end user and the company providing the service as it saves time on tasks that can get done automatically and faster.
Of course, this article does not even scratch the surface of forthcoming AI applications. A subset of chatbots, question-answering systems, are poised to become ubiquitous in various industries. Healthcare companies can use artificial intelligence to aid with treatment, clinical studies, reports and to help with research findings and the diagnosis of a patient. In 2011, IBM’s Watson computer showed off a question-answer system on the popular quiz show Jeopardy. Watson can analyze and reply to questions using natural human language and answer using a knowledge base acquired through sources such as Wikipedia. More recently, Watson is being used to solve the water crisis in India, compose new songs, research and suggest cancer treatments, and even help with making investment decisions.
We have come a long way with technology and our ability to create and use artificial intelligence to our advantage. Many thought leaders and ethics leaders have spoken out about the implications of AI for humanity in both the long and short term. If you have not read it already, a more pessimistic view from Tim Urban imagines the very real possibility that, once AIs surpass our own intelligence, they may even inadvertently eliminate us.
Finally, when we discuss revolutionary technology, often we immediately think of robots that are self-aware and capable of processing information and solving things on their own.
You might have heard of Sophia, the robot. A humanoid robot created by Hanson Robotics and can carry out conversations in natural language and mimic human expressions. There was recently an argument regarding the ethics behind declaring Sophia the first robot citizen of Saudi Arabia. This might be confusing to some, as women in that country just recently obtained their right to a driver’s license. Ethical questions arise when it comes to prioritizing a robot’s rights over basic rights of a human being.
Watch the following video to make your own assumptions: