Artificial intelligence (AI) is a varied topic and the definitions of the field vary by discipline. For computer scientists, the term AI covers programs that exhibit some kind of intelligent behaviour. For engineers, AI refers to building machines that automate processes often performed by humans. For cognitive scientists, AI can be used to understand human intelligence. (Whitson, George M., III, BS,M.S., PhD., 2015)
AI can work as experts on a subject, finding the best solution for a question after a set of inputs. For example, doctors can seek assistance in medical advice for patients. (Brookshear, 2011)
AI can save us hazardous work such as jobs that handle high temperatures, gases or toxic substances. This way, humans can focus on quality assurance and any details that are best not left to a machine.
For example, phycologist computer programs, rooting back to ELIZA, are starting to emerge. One of them, Ellie, was funded by the US military to help soldiers with psychological trauma. Humans like opening up to a computer system that do not judge them. (Bohannon, 2015, pp.250-251)
AI shows us how we might rely too much on technology to give us answers or perform our jobs. (Brookshear, 2011) In many industries we are unable to work if the computer system is not up and running. In case of identity theft, if a computer system erroneously lists you as having financial trouble, you might have not get loans or any credit while your case is investigated. (National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre, n.d., Brookshear, 2011) This can for example hinder you in getting an electricity subscription or maybe a cell phone subscription.
Ethics is a theme that is regularly mentioned when it comes to AI. In “Computer Science: An overview” (Brookshear, 2011), Joseph Weizenbaum is quoted saying that we cannot give a computer wisdom, and therefore should not let them make decisions that need this factoring into the answer. Stuart Russell, a researcher who is considered an AI pioneer was recently interview on the topic of fears of the AI development. (Russell and Bohannon, 2015, pp.252-252) One of his main concerns is that military drones and weaponry will be under the full control of AI systems. He is afraid that AI systems will not take into accounts all the elements that humans care about.
Hacking might pose a serious threat to the use of AI. Hackers have already done such things as remotely kill a jeep on the highway, making it possible to crash and injure the driver. (Greenberg, 2015) Not only is it then becoming a direct weapon, but hackers could then gather information on the patterns of this person, or organization, making a complete profile for sinister intentions. Security on many levels might be compromised.
I believe that we will be seeing AI in areas where they can help us.
Automatic cars: Common knowledge tells us that car crashes is a large problem in many countries today. Google’s automatic car seems to have great potential in helping us being driven instead of driving. Not only does it sense problems humans wouldn’t pick up as easily, but it also allow elderly and visually impaired people to get from A to B. (Inman, 2015) No drunken drivers either. However, once more the ethical dilemma turns up: if faced with an impossible situation where it would have to decide whether you should crash or you would drive into a crowd of people – what should it do? (MIT Technology Review, 2015) Hacking could also be a problem, as mentioned earlier.
Internet of Things: Smarter homes and cars is already a reality. There are numerous things you can do with your mobile phone, from turning on the heat in your car or even in your remote wooden cabin before you arrive. The trends seems to point at more and more gadgets will talk to the internet. (Reese, 2015)
“Deep learning” and emotional understanding: Machines are learning by previous examples, working together to learn more and getting better at continuous learning. (Jordan and Mitchell, 2015, pp.255-260, Reese, 2015) I believe technology such as voice and facial recognition, cameras and pulse detection can be better at understanding human emotions and can help us with both psychological treatment as well as lie detection and mental stability checks. (Reese, 2015)
Healthcare: AI can assist us in areas where we need to keep track of certain things. Particularly this could be the heath of elderly or ill people. Temperature, pulse etc. could be taken at regular intervals as well as an avatar asking them how they feel and record their answers. With an ELIZA-based system, follow-up questions could be asked and interpreted, allowing the AI system to take action and alert health personnel if deemed urgent. (University of Portsmouth, 2014)
AI can help us immensely in many areas in the future, which I believe it will. However, wisdom, ethical and human concerns seems to be topics in which we cannot learn a computer.
We need to figure out how to handle these issues before AI can be more fully integrated in our lives.
Bohannon, J. (2015) ‘The synthetic therapist’, Science, 349 (6245), pp.250-1.
Brookshear, J. G. (2011) Computer science : an overview. Boston , M.A. ; Pearson / Addison-Wesley, 2011.
Greenberg, A. (2015) Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It | WIRED [Online] Available from: http://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers-remotely-kill-jeep-highway/ (Accessed: 11.10.2016).
Inman, M. (2015) 6 things I learned from riding in a Google Self-Driving Car [Online] Available from: http://theoatmeal.com/blog/google_self_driving_car (Accessed:11.10.2016).
Jordan, M. I. (. 1. ). and Mitchell, T. M. (. 2. ). (2015) ‘Machine learning: Trends, perspectives, and prospects’, Science, 349 (6245), pp.255-60.
MIT Technology Review. (2015) Why Self-Driving Cars Must Be Programmed to Kill | MIT Technology Review [Online] Available from: http://www.technologyreview.com/view/542626/why-self-driving-cars-must-be-programmed-to-kill/ (Accessed:11.10.2016).
National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre. (n.d.) Identity fraud and identity theft | Action Fraud [Online] Available from:
Reese, H. (2015) 7 trends for artificial intelligence in 2016: ‘Like 2015 on steroids’ – TechRepublic [Online] Available from: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/7-trends-for-artificial-intelligence-in-2016-like-2015-on-steroids/ (Accessed:11.10.2016).
Russell, S. and Bohannon, J. (2015) ‘Artificial intelligence. Fears of an AI pioneer’, Science, 349 (6245), pp.252-.
University of Portsmouth. (2014) Artificial intelligence set to revolutionise elderly care | UoP News [Online] Available from: http://uopnews.port.ac.uk/2014/02/27/artificial-intelligence-set-to-revolutionise-elderly-care/ (Accessed: 03.08.2018).
Whitson, George M., III, BS,M.S., PhD. (2015) ‘Artificial intelligence’, Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science,
Image source: bamenny, Pixabay. CC public domain licence. https://pixabay.com/en/robot-flower-technology-future-1214536/