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Artificial Intelligence-The Good

What is artificial intelligence? Where is it now, and where will it go? Maybe it is good, maybe it is bad. You decide.

October 14, 2016
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Photo: Apple

Remember those days when robots promised to kill the humans, bring forth the apocalypse and then take over the world?

Good old days.

Today, it is not the ‘Terminator’ we are scared of seeing on the horizon; it is the controller, Skynet which looks more plausible. Better known as Artificial Intelligence (AI), there is no dearth of people who believe in it being the future villain. There are others who consider this theory as bullshit. But before we start speculating about the future, it might help to know just how far along AI is right now.

 ‘Ok Google’

The voice assistants that our phones are equipped with now, are the most common and public representations of AI. Google itself believes it can overcome the profit gap between it and Apple by giving users a much better and improved AI which can work with more things and words than ‘Ok Google’. However, the fact that the AIs think different from us and see patterns in places where we can’t, makes their use both exciting and alarming. As described well enough here, AI can be used to make all sorts of correlations. But many of these are as good as gibberish; making the system capable enough to choose the apt correlations? Now that’s difficult.

Facebook believes that memory is what can make an AI better; helping the AI to know the context and similar questions and answers it faced in the past can help it be of much better use. Hell, Google’s DeepMind (which is a very good example of what future AIs could potentially be like) team is working at making systems talk with you in a way which is indistinguishable from other people.

Jarvis? Check. Her? Soon to be checked.

Watson?

AI has even learnt how to make movie trailers for an audience; IBM Watson was fed with more than 100 movie trailers of horror movies and made to analyze how they brought in the fear factor; following this, they inputted an entire movie, the upcoming Morgan, and asked it to make a trailer for it. It has reportedly been described as ‘really, reaaaaaally eerie’. One of the most used photo apps, Prisma applies ‘filters’ which can turn images into works of art. What’s new in that? It uses AI too, in a way that people are yet to understand (and the developers, yet to reveal). But everyone from Alia Bhatt to James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy!) uses it now. Trucks in USA are set to become the first vehicles to be driven entirely without drivers; it is estimated that the transition will start by 2017. Otto, one of the companies involved it, has been acquired by Uber. And Uber is already driving a fleet of driverless taxis in Pittsburgh, supervised by an engineer. In other news, The Machine Intelligence Research Institute is working on the task of building AI that can be beneficial to humans.

Some tech companies have also come together, launching a nonprofit whose basic aim is to make sure people understand AI better. Amazon, Google, Microsoft Facebook and IBM are these tech companies. That’s pretty much a good indicator of how big AI is.


About the author: Hitesh Shetty
Dreams of writing a bestseller and changing the world. When awake, tries to figure out how to do both.

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