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Artificial Intelligence: Boon or Bane?

When I begin searching on google, it assists me in completing a sentence. When I search for outfits on amazon, it recommends products by displaying ads on google. When I open Netflix, it suggests the best movies to watch. When I get bored, google assistant tells me a joke. A technology that has revolutionized the 21st century would surely be Artificial Intelligence (AI). This technology has become inevitable in our day-to-day life. But a more pressing question to think through is whether AI has shown signs of outsmarting us, humans.

The recent growth in computer architecture has changed the face of science and engineering. This growth is so fundamental that it drastically reshapes relationships among people and organizations. This also provides a foundation for understanding and learning intelligent behaviour in living and engineered systems. But is this growth beneficial to our society?

Stephen Hawking, the great theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and known for his spellbinding theories about time, black hole, etc., left us a warning: "The development of full Artificial Intelligence could spell the end of the human race." In the mid-1950s, John McCarthy coined the term "Artificial Intelligence." He defined it as "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines." John McCarthy is widely enshrined as the "Father of Artificial Intelligence." 

The demand for AI has increased this century due to the requirement of computing power. Social networking apps like Facebook (face recognition to tag friends), Twitter (trained to remove offensive or reportable content), Instagram (customizes the content for the explore tab), and YouTube (suggestions and recommendations for videos) heavily rely on artificial intelligence. Sadly, AI will soon be able to take over many human jobs.

Machine learning, a subset of AI, is trained with large datasets and better algorithms. It is constructed based on the concept of neural networks. Artificial intelligence is not limited to just the Information Technology (IT) industry. It has boundless applications in various fields such as medicine, business, agriculture, law, manufacturing, etc.

To be more specific, Artificial Intelligence has three stages: 

  • Narrow Artificial Intelligence (weak AI), involving the application of AI only to particular tasks (Google search engine, Alexa, SOPHIA -Humanoid robot, Self-driving cars).

  • General Artificial Intelligence (strong AI), which performs tasks that require human-level intelligence. But since machines lack a reasonable way of thinking, strong AI doesn't exist.

  • Artificial Superintelligence, which refers to the future, when the intellectual capabilities of devices surpass humans. It is seen as a hypothetical situation depicted in movies and science fiction books. Still, it can be achieved in the future. 

Artificial Intelligence has been misrepresented and misunderstood since its proposal. Most scenarios about future AI are hypothetical, and it leaves us with existential questions. But we hope that the ongoing research today will help us prevent potential negative consequences in the future.

Tagged in : AI, technology, science, engineering, machine learning, artifical intelligence,