Is Artificial Intelligence a boon or bane?

Artificial intelligence

How much intelligence do you expect from a machine? What if a car can drive itself through a busy city or a washing machine walking here and there picking up the clothes to wash? Doesn’t it sound interesting to know a television can play our favorite movies when we relax on the couch? These are some simple aspects of artificial intelligence. The term itself is promising with unlimited opportunities waiting to be unlocked.

It is the technology for future, giving wings to the innumerable dreams man had since the evolution. The AI research began in the late 1950s at a workshop at Dartmouth College and the key participants were Allen Newell (CMU), Herbert Simon (CMU), John McCarthy (MIT), Marvin Minsky (MIT) and Arthur Samuel (IBM) who become the founding leaders of Artificial Intelligence. Their works were hailed astonishing and showcased enormous capabilities of the computer such as finding the answer to logical questions, problem-solving and even reasoning.

The development attracted huge financial funding due to its immense possibilities. The world was wonder stuck to find a computer speaking English, proving complicated theorems and more. Even the United States defense department invested huge amounts to utilize the AI concepts to strengthen security. But these positive attitudes were met with a setback, which was marked in history as the AI Winter. The AI followers fought these with immense determination, which acted the fuel for AI revival in the later period, mostly in the nineties and twenty-first century. With the Deep Blue computer beating Garry Kasparov, AI was again in news, leading to utilization in data mining, logistics, healthcare diagnosis and lot more.

The process of utilizing powerful algorithms to make machines react and work like humans have evolved a lot since its inception. The efficient problem-solving capability has always a priority for humans and AI facilitates this fast thinking to aid in our tasks. For this purpose, the key point is the knowledge. We need to give the computer enormous knowledge on the task, beginning from the objects used, the properties, their categories and the relation between these objects and the individual situations, time of occurrence, expected events leading to the response and its impacts. In a way, we are making the computer mimic our own actions and reactions.

AI applications are unimaginably wide making many of our decade-old impossible concepts real. Healthcare is one of the top sector reaping the advantages of artificial intelligence. The technology has helped considerably in the research associated with many threatening diseases of the twenty-first century. According to reports, Microsoft itself has initiated a project to detect the appropriate treatment procedures required for individual patients suffering from cancer. Robots specialized in identifying skin cancer has turned successful recently. Even an open surgery had been carried out by a robot with AI implementation and that too with a precision greater than actual doctors.

Another noteworthy application is the automobile industry. Driverless cars are a pride of artificial intelligence, which has revolutionized even the concept of driving. Most of the giants including Tesla, Google, and Apple have made successful advancements in the sector. Tesla has geared up to the front row of the race with Model 3, Model X and Model 5 taking even the traffic conditions into account. Automatic lane changing without human interference, collision resistance, self-parking and navigating through busy areas are just some prominent features of driverless cars and the technology has been smart enough to meet all the expectations.

Even though the system is getting smarter day by day, there are dark clouds of uncertainty hanging overhead on moral and ethical issues. One of the strong advocators on the risks is Stephen Hawking himself. As per him, a full development of artificial intelligence could end the whole human race itself as the machines may redesign themselves according to their own ‘ethical thinking’ and can outrun the humans. Another aspect of the risk is humans losing jobs and positions to robots, making life miserable and paving way to social outrages. These ideas themselves are fearsome as the finding may turn out to be similar to digging one’s own grave. Developments should be used to make life easier and comfortable and not to bring doom to the human race. Scientists have to take the responsibility to incorporate technology progress with sensible thinking and ethical knowledge to make things work.