Artificial Intelligence is a topic with a vast appeal to the en masse. People believe that it is the future of human techologies. But beyond that, people are of various school of thoughts. The first group assumes that AI shall help humanity achieve singularity – a point in technological development that shall mean an utopia. We shall spend all our time towards spiritual and emotional development while most of the crude tasks shall be taken care by machines. The second school of thought assumes that AI shall take over humanity as its overlords. Let us analyse both.
The history of animated, self-thinking, free willed machines is not new at all. It has been imagined for centuries by fiction writers. However, the modern conception of AI in scientific thinking started about 80 years ago. John McCarthy, an American mathematician proposed the idea of such machines back in the first half of the 20th century. Alan Turing, the inventor of the Turing Machine, a British mathematician also proposed his idea of intelligent machines, his proposal now famously called the Turing Test. However, for the next 40 years or so, no important research occurred in the field. It was only in the last decades of the 20th century, when the research started again and not before humanity entered into the 21st century that something formidable was created.
As of today, AI has invaded all spaces of human endeavor. Mechanics, mechatronics, smart devices, our smartphones – all of it is infiltrated with AI. But this AI is what most scientists call ‘weak AI’. It cannot really think. It has a predefined algorithm and then it uses that algorithm to capture inputs and ‘learn’ about new scenarios as per its algorithmic definitions. This AI cannot work without human input and can certainly not take over the world. It can however carry out some actions that are equivalent to evolution as the AI at the Facebook research Center developed their own language to communicate. However, this evolution still does not mean that the AI is “thinking”. It is just evolving its learning based on a preprogrammed code. It is nothing like human beings where discretion is a thing. Even the famous robot AI, Sophia is but a weak AI – a little better than SIRI and google assistant but that is all there is to it. It is not a self-thinking, free-willed machine.
Researchers have tried hard to create strong AIs with a completely different set of ethical concerns – the main obviously being how would such machines live with humans if they are free to think – but have failed so far. And believe it or not, strong AIs might really not be a thing for at least another 50-100 years at the very least. Maybe even a couple of centuries after that.
So, if you’ve watched the movie Prometheus or Covenant and are scared of the possibility of David being a reality, grab a cup of coffee and relax. By the way, both the movies are really good!