Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence

According to the basic definition of Artificial Intelligence (hereon referred to as AI) it is the ability of a machine to perform tasks whilst perceiving the environment it encounters and to take suitable actions that would maximize its chances of successfully and most efficiently achieve its goals.

The concept of AI has been around for decades with the earliest known occurrence in the literature from 1954 (Schaeffer J. (2009) Didn’t Samuel Solve That Game?. In: One Jump Ahead. Springer, Boston, MA) where a group of students developed programs for machines learning checkers strategies. This was closely followed by the Dartmouth College convention in 1956 where Allen Newell (CMU), Herbert Simon (CMU), John McCarthy (MIT), Marvin Minsky (MIT) and Arthur Samuel (IBM) became the founders and leaders of AI research.
Alan Turing was one of the revolutionary players in the field after he developed several algorithms and gave his ‘Theory of Computation’ and the ‘Church-Turing thesis’ that postulated that computers could simulate any process of formal reasoning.

Recent discoveries in the fields of Cybernetics, Neurobiology and Information theory have greatly advanced the field of AI to the extent that researchers even propose the development of an electronic brain capable to making decisions based on complex computational algorithms while learning and evolving from its own mistakes just as a human brain would. In today’s world where AI seems to surpass the ability of the human brain and tends to exceed its limits in several instances several questions have emerged for pursuing the limits of AI for even the most skilled people such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg (to name a few) with some conflicting views on its continued use.

However it seems to be inevitable that these questions be faced and some facts be accepted with a grain of salt. In the modern world here everything is virtually connected an electronic equipment tend to get smarter by the day such as our mobile phones, google glasses and other home connected components people have begun to question the ability of machines to be intelligent or think. As every unknown parameter, these questions also raise some concerns and in some instances instigate fear among us. Although there are rules and guidelines that are laid down while making AI systems, their ability to evolve and self-learn has surpassed what had been previously imagined. Who is to be held accountable in instances of unintended consequences? Recent areas for making ethical decisions in the realm of AI have emerged and include ‘Machine ethics’, ‘artificial moral agents’, and study of ‘malevolent vs friendly AI’.

In the words of Stephen Hawking
The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. Once humans develop artificial intelligence, it will take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete and would be superseded.”

The amazing and unprecedented opportunities offered by AI open up several realms of possibilities which have previously been thought of to be impossible. AI not only would help us better understand the human brain but may eventually supersede the thinking capacity of the human brain in terms of multi-tasking and processing various operations at the same time at super high speeds. It may not be long to see the humanized robot like species evolve and live among us as postulated by Alex Proyas in the movie iRobot suggested by Isaac Asimov's short-story collection of the same name (which also suggests some interesting principles of AI ). Even though I personally see such advancements in the future, nevertheless, as with any unknown we as a human race would need to be cautious of the perils that might come along.

For the moment AI seems a plausible option to accomplish several inhuman tasks and may lead the scientific field to new heights. The transhumanism cause might greatly benefit from this as would the fields of bioengineering, tissue regeneration, neurobiology etc. in terms of science. On the one hand AI might be useful for complex computational tasks such as assessing the financial markets or to be used in counter defense systems used to safeguard our countries. The possibilities are endless. As sentient beings we are bound to fear the unknown but on the other hand we must keep our eyes open to the benefits we might have if we embrace the technology (with caution though). 


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