Intelligent, sentient robots are going to take over the world? Not today, and possibly never.

Give Hollywood credit for the many fears associated with artificial intelligence. (AI). The big screen made us picture Will Smith fighting robots or Sarah Connor taking on Skynet every time we hear the term. Even new Hollywood releases like 2014’s Transcendence and the upcoming Chappie further perpetuate this stereotypical view of artificial intelligence.

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Reality is much more complicated. Artificial intelligence, generally described, is simply a set of technologies for building computer systems that can perform complex analytical tasks. assignments, assignments, on one’s own. Simple examples include everything from speech recognition and decision making to visual perception. There are several narrow but useful AI systems like Siri or Xbox One’s Kinect.

What AI is not

Let’s calm our fears for a moment and discuss what AI is not. First of all, machine intelligence has nothing to do with being «alive» or even «conscious». Modern artificial intelligence can match or exceed human capabilities in narrow areas (like chess or answering questions about danger), but they lack flexibility and versatility. human mind. These systems are not «human» and can only operate under the close supervision and guidance of a human. They are simply advanced computer systems designed to mimic certain aspects of human intelligence.

Artificially intelligent software is controlled by humans. Modern software is focused on a single task by the laser — it is usually not creative and does not act independently outside of its field. As our algorithms become more powerful, we may start to see software tools that can operate more independently across a wider and wider range of domains, but that’s still a long way off. Smart people who are concerned about AI research (like Elon Musk, who recently donated $10,000,000 to solve this problem) don’t care about today’s technology, they’re concerned about AI systems that may exist in the future.

For now, there is no need to fear the robot apocalypse just now.

What is AI

Now that we have covered some of the misconceptions associated with artificial intelligence, it may be useful to discuss modern examples of artificial intelligence, as well as gadgets already based on this technology.

AI is already here. It’s not some future theoretical technology that we’re working on. AI machines are already among us. Take, for example, Microsoft’s recent security bot demo. Called the K5, these autonomous machines stand 5 feet tall, weigh 300 pounds, and are equipped with HD cameras, sensors, alarms, Wi-Fi and—you guessed it—AI. These machines have been programmed to recognize if something is out of place, such as an injured worker or a potential intruder. And as technology improves, K5 will become more capable of recognizing even smaller discrepancies than humans.

Windows Cortana

But the search for artificial intelligence can be even easier. If we go back to our earlier definition, the wave of new digital assistants can be classified as AI. Of course, there are those who disagree with this, arguing that these machines do not have true intelligence, but only the appearance of intelligence. While this may be the case, if AI is defined as something that performs human tasks such as writing on a calendar, searching the web, recognizing and parsing voice queues, then Siri, Google Voice, and Cortana everyone is getting ready.

Future of AI

One common assumption about artificial intelligence is that intelligence is the same as consciousness, or human-like subjective experience. In fact, it is quite possible that artificial intelligence can be very smart, but at the same time very alien.

Intelligence is not a spectrum, it is a vast expanse of possible minds with many possibilities. Some experts doubt that machines can ever resemble human consciousness. Christoph Koch, chief scientist at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, has dedicated his career to teaching people about consciousness and how he sees it as a property of matter. During a recent Q&A, Koch said that researchers are still far from understanding why this is happening, and don’t even agree on what consciousness is. He continues:

“I think that consciousness, like mass, is a fundamental property of the universe. The analogy, and a very good one, is that you can make pretty good weather forecasts these days. You can predict the inside of a storm. But the inside of a computer is never wet. You can simulate a black hole in a computer, but space-time won’t bend. An imitation of something is not a real thing.

In other words, although consciousness can be simulated, Koch believes that it will never happen in an artificial form.

With the growth in the number of devices using cloud computing and the greater interdependence of devices, we will eventually see a very diverse group of smart objects. The introduction of artificial intelligence systems in these devices will help simplify tasks and make our daily life even easier. However, this will not turn against us with its homes and gadgets and lead to the death of humanity — at least not in the foreseeable future.

‘Artificial Intelligence’ is no match for Sean Davis’ ‘Natural Stupidity’ via Flickr, Nokia Lumia 635 Cortana. Help from Bhupinder Nayyar via Flickr

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