AI and I
I first heard about artificial intelligence during the second year of my Creative Business studies. Our course Technology required us to look into innovative technologies. Artificial Intelligence was one of those. I didn’t think about it that much yet. To me it didn’t look like the next big thing. Nothing could be more wrong! Especially since AI has been around for quite some time already. The first artificial intelligence was (according to many) established in 1956 by John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky.
In simple terms this was the first program that had memory. It could execute, save information and learn from it. On this day, this is not considered remarkable anymore. As far as I know, everything I do online is saved somewhere or at least tracked. Let me give an example about Netflix. One evening you watch a cheesy, romantic movie. A week later when you open Netflix again, it recommends you a bunch of other cheesy, romantic movies that are similar to the one from last week. Netflix saved your preferences and gets to know you.
Now I think a second about ‘gets to know you’. Just like humans, this computer system had the capabilities of getting to know people. In fact, they are much better at this. An artificial intelligence won’t forget someone’s name when you just met, nor in the far future. Once something is learned, it is processed and saved in memory.
More and more will AI start to copy humans. After all, we are their teachers. There is one humanoid robot that is already considered human, her name is Sophia. She is an artificial intelligence with a human-like appearance. The robot is programmed to have conversations with people in a human manner. She has been invited to many events and has even visited talk shows. To top of the notch, she acquired a Saoudie Arabian citizenship in 2017. This makes her the first robot being a citizen of a country.
So if artificial intelligence will keep growing, we might benefit from knowing what it actually is. Let’s take a look at the definition. Artificial intelligence is defined as “the study and development of computer systems that can copy intelligent human behaviour” by the Oxford dictionary. When an AI is created it is comparable with a baby. It does not know anything yet. The older it gets the more it learns and improves. A baby learns by putting a triangle shaped block into a triangle shaped hole. When they get older they learn to recognize faces and people. You probably have facial recognition on your phone by now. This is also a form of AI. So can we say that AI is still in its toddler phase?
If so, then AI holds a lot of promise for the future still. But the question is whether it will be for the good or the bad. Most technologies we use today have been shown in sci-fi movies many years ago. Will the future of AI be like the movie ‘I, Robot’ where a supercomputer turns evil. Or will we connect and establish relationships like in the movie ‘Her’.
David Hanson, robot Sophia’s creator, mentioned in the talk show ‘This Morning’ that he doesn’t think that Sophia will turn against humans. He says: “if we raise them among humans and give them the best of our values then they will learn respect, they will learn love in the broadest sense.” What if someone who has bad intentions learns the technology behind developing an AI robot. What if AI can help someone gain a lot of power – which big AI’s such as Facebook and Google already have.
Will AI be the main weapon in a world war that doesn’t incorporate guns and bombs but sensitive big data? Who will eventually win the ‘minds’ of AI, power or love? Or is that just another idea for a good sci-fi movie?