Are We Going to Be a Part of Our Future?
Imagine a world where every task, big or small, is done by robots, and the need for manpower is minimal. As far as technology is concerned, this world we are talking about will be a reality sooner than later due to artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence, a.k.a. AI, is something we all might have heard of in recent times. So let’s expand on it a bit further.
Since the invention of computers, their capability to perform various tasks has been growing. A branch of Computer Science named Artificial Intelligence (abbreviated as AI) aims to create computers as intelligent as human beings. But you may ask, what exactly is AI?
Accordingly to John McCarthy, the father of Artificial Intelligence, it is:
The science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs.
So, the definition of artificial intelligence in simple words is “making computers/machines/software think in the way we humans think”. It is the field that has achieved a lot and has a lot to accomplish.
Artificial Intelligence vs Machine Learning
But most people confuse AI with machine learning. Machine learning comes in making AI a reality. To keep things simple, machine learning is teaching a machine to do a specific task. It gradually learns through experience and gains the skill, but only performs that task. This should be kept in mind. Compared to the single wavelength of machine learning, AI is a broad spectrum. The computer learns through the experience of any task it encounters. Artificial intelligence is a science-based on disciplines such as Computer Science, Biology, Psychology, Linguistics, Mathematics, and Engineering. It covers a wide range of subjects and will be part of our everyday lives.
Narrow AI vs AGI
Today, Artificial intelligence is known as narrow or weak AI because it performs small tasks (e.g. only facial recognition, internet searches, or driving a car). However, the long-term goal of many researchers is to create Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) or strong AI. While narrow AI may perform better than humans at whatever its specific task is, like playing chess, AGI would outperform humans at nearly every cognitively demanding task. It is helpful in situations where there is a risk of life and property, to save time by completing tasks in a shorter period and with better accuracy, to do stuff which we humans would usually avoid.
For example, in 2014, in Sydney, Australia, shooting drama in the downtown area led people to call Uber to escape that area. The result was that Uber’s ride rates surged based on its supply and demand algorithm — Uber involved no consideration in the circumstances in which the riders found themselves. All this development in AI has led many to fear to imagine a future where humans don’t have any jobs as there are fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better. However, the economists tend to differ on this topic compared to the Silicon Valley experts.
During the 1950s and the late 20th century, there was a similar growing concern of people losing their jobs due to the integration of machines and increased automation in the factories and daily life. During this period, technology destroyed many jobs like lift operators, unskilled factory workers, telephone operators, etc., yet interestingly, we didn’t run out of work. Let me explain this; the scope of artificial intelligence in the future is that it will replace many jobs, but it will also create new ones like people who design and maintain the technology, and sometimes whole new industries that will supplement the growth of AI. Companies implement AI and robots to reduce costs and increase revenue, which will help the company expand into other sectors or sometimes invent whole new industries. It’s not so much that the AI will destroy the workers, but it will displace them into new sectors. All this doesn’t mean that the new jobs will require the same skills or earn the same wages as the jobs lost, but if you look at the employment chart, it is increasing; it shows that the need for human work hasn’t gone away.
“AI is the future” is something people talk about these days. But the question is, “Are we going to be a part of that future?” Well, that is something that we have to decide before the robot does.