Intelligence, defined as the ability to acquire knowledge and skills. Intelligence for the longest time possible is associated with the human brain. Artificial intelligence is basically defined as intelligence that is originating from machines. Most computer applications only make existing processes and functions faster and maybe more efficiently but cannot create new duties altogether. However, artificial intelligence has already challenged this notion.
Developments in Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence has grown and is no longer used solely in computer science. It has evolved to include other areas such as health, automobile and business applications. One of the major developments in artificial intelligence is the involvement of global technology companies such as Google and IBM. One of the companies that recently made headlines in this industry is a robotics company called Boston Dynamics. They recently developed a promotional robot reindeer. In a marketing video uploaded by the company it shows three robot reindeers pulling a sleigh across a lawn. The robots were even dressed the part for Christmas by having antlers and Christmas decoration.
All joking aside, another company making headway in the AI world is DeepMind. This is a Google-owned company that specialises in AI. One of the company’s milestones is developing a neural network that plays games like the way human beings play. The company recently developed a program called Alpha Go, which beat Lee Se-dol (a professional human player from South Korea) at Go for the first time in March 2016.
Apart from being in the gaming industry, Google Deep Mind has also partnered with Moorfields Eye Hospital. They have partnered with the hospital in order to help diagnose age-related macular degeneration rapidly. The disease is diagnosed using optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans. However, the scans take too long for eye health professionals to analyse them thus there are delays on the initiation of treatment. Google Deep Mind has partnered with them to investigate how machine learning could help in the effective and efficient analysis of these scans. This will lead to a quicker diagnosis and onset of medical management. In the long run, this will reduce the number of people who succumb to blindness due to the disease.
Google Artificial Intelligence dream (Google AI dream) is another recent development in the field. This project occurred after Google software engineers decided to feed Google’s artificial neural networks on their servers with random images. This led to the algorithms turning the data fed into them into images. The images varied from dogfish to knights having dog tails. They called this process ‘inceptionism’. They also made the process accessible to the public by releasing the Google AI dream source code as open source software.
Artificial Intelligence Benefits
One of the areas that artificial intelligence will benefit business is in areas of data analysis. Companies have gathered vast amounts of data but at times making sense of it could prove to be a herculean task. AI can help in noting data patterns that human beings cannot perceive. This can help businesses in targeting the right customers for a particular product. An example is the partnership between IBM and Fluid companies. Fluid is a digital retail company specializing in software solutions. It is utilizing IBM’s Watson, which is an artificial intelligence created by IBM, to provide its customers with insightful and relevant product recommendations. This leads to a more personalised and interactive experience while shopping online.
Another use-case example of artificial intelligence is that of Forbes, it has employed an artificial intelligence analyst and storyteller called Quill by Narative Science. Quill takes structured data such as numbers and symbols, it then extracts meaning from that data, and then transforms that meaning into common language. In short terms, the AI is a storyteller. At the time of writing, Quill is taking structured data such as numbers in excel spreadsheets associated with the stock market and turning them into content rich articles including earnings previews. We also use similar artificial intelligence at spray-fito for research, analytics, social media marketing and content writing purposes.
Another aspect of business that AI is changing is customer services. AI could handle the repetitive tasks of customer service jobs. This can be done by using automated switchboards to communicate with clients. AI programs have been developed that not only respond to what is being asked based upon a manual or by searching on Google but are also able to learn and interact as a human would by the use of human advisors. An example of such a program is Amelia, which was developed by IPsoft. Amelia is already being used by many entities including the British public sector, which is employing Amelia in Enfield Council, London. This development significantly reduces the cost of hiring customer service representatives.
The third aspect that AI is likely to influence in business is around product development. AI is shortening the duration of new product launches. This is possible due to the use of Artificial Narrow Intelligence, which involves the manufacturing of machines that can only do a limited number of tasks such as in self-driven cars.
Artificial Intelligence Drawbacks
July 2016 was the first time where a robot was publicly used to kill an armed suspect by Police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, USA. The device was not autonomous, but in the future it could be. And although there are many cases of remote warfare within militaries, such as the case with drones, this was the first occasion where such technology was used in public. There are real concerns around artificial intelligence causing chaos like the scenarios depicted in Hollywood movies such as Terminator, Robocop, Iron Man and iRobot in the future. However, the exaggeration of Hollywood aside, it could be stated that the risks around artificial intelligence are serious enough to make a number of global thought-leaders anxious:
“I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish … just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence. I think there is potentially a dangerous outcome there.” – Elon Musk
“I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence. First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.” – Bill Gates
“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” – Stephen Hawking
These thought-leaders make valid points, and we must draw a line in the sand on what should and should not be allowed around the use or development of artificial intelligence. A number of scientists are even working on a ‘kill switch’ as a fail-safe for in case artificial intelligence goes rogue. However, there ought to be more activity in the regulatory area.
Artificial intelligence is moving rapidly from relevancy in technologically niche areas to impacting every industry in the world. The pros outweigh the cons, however the cons cannot be rendered void. Human development cannot be compared with artificial intelligence development. When one human learns something, only one human learns that thing. When one robot learns something, all robots learn that thing. As a result, it is not long before the birth of Superintelligence, which is an intellect that is a lot smarter than the best human minds in any sector. So in conclusion, the usage, development and governance of artificial intelligence must be spearheaded in a sensitive way at all times.