Artificial Intelligence: What Is In Store For Us
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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an umbrella term that is used to describe computers, robots, and softwares that mimic and act as human intelligence. The exclusive and highly complex tasks that have not yet been overtaken by computers and are presently treated as the only prerogative of human intelligence are somewhat predicted to be overtaken by machines that will soon start mimicking humans in not so distant future.

This means tasks that require human touch like emotional evaluations, psychological predictions, intuition, and fine tuned judgements made possible by years of human interactions and experience can now be outsourced to artificial human intelligence.

The idea of such a concept working among us feels daunting and exciting at the same time. The rapid developments in the field of internet technology and telecom in the last 20 years gives us enough reason and evidence to believe that these technological changes are just the beginning of bigger and newer things to come.

All developments are cumulative in nature. Speaking of Artificial Intelligence, we are already interacting with its virtual avatar in the form of computer video games. When you're playing a video game especially as single player, in games like chess, you are competing against computerized intelligence. One may not have realized it, but you have lost to computerized intelligence more times than you'd like.

Although AI taking over all human decisions and jobs is a surreal notion, there is still world of a change waiting to happen in this branch of science. In the last couple of years, the great physicist Stephen Hawking has spoken a number of times of the big changes looming in the field of AI.

Science has established that the human mind functions on two different levels: the conscious or the logical mind and the unconscious or the intuitive mind. It is very difficult for humans to judge whether their thoughts and decisions are emerging from their conscious or subconscious mind.

One of the many advantages of AI is that its decisions are based on facts rather than emotions. It does not have an inherent intuitive mind or 'gut feelings' that humans operate from. The intuitive thinking in AI is developed on the basis of past behaviors of its user and data collected from every command entered in the computer's system. Over-time algorithms and data pattern recognition technologies pick up on the behavior trends and psychology of its user and the AI starts generating results based on that. There is very little scope of mistake when you have historical and proven data to back up all decisions.

Not just accuracy, we are also looking at non-stop working hours without a dip in efficiency or breaks required for food and refreshment. Unlike humans, machines with Artificial Intelligence do not need any sleep, thus overcoming the inherent disadvantage of tiredness in humans.

Then there is the easy and 100% accurate knowledge transfer that can take place between two AI devices as against between two human beings where a lot depends on communication and perception. That eliminates any scope for information being lost in translation.

Corporations have a lot to gain by AI replacing a lot of human functions relating to handling of big data and taking decisions based on that. However, there is a flip side to be considered as well. There are a lot of situations that call for human common sense to come up with the simplest solutions to complex problems. This is an area where AI fails miserably because it requires the decision maker to deal with predictions and assumptions that lie outside the scope of historical events and data.

As much as AI is slated to as the next big thing in technology post the invention of internet, there are still a lot of unanswered questions that need to be dealt with before it becomes practical for humans to start outsourcing intelligence to computers.

That being said, Artificial Intelligence has already found place in industries like gaming (using refined algorithms and scanning 100‟s of positions every second so as to determine the next move), heavy manufacturing industries (in jobs that are otherwise considered dangerous for humans. Plus it also increases efficiency, as robots do not need breaks) and weather forecasting (past data being analyzed for patterns and predicting future weather conditions with more accuracy).

The latest advancement in AI is the much talked about Google self driven car. Run by the on-board Google Chauffeur software program, 'Stanley', an autonomous robotic vehicle created by a Google team led by Sebastian Thrun. The US states of Nevada, Florida, and California already have a small fleet of licensed Google driver-less cars running on their roads. Fitted with laser radars and advanced equipment, the car's inbuilt software analyzes its environment through a 3D map of all objects in its vicinity. By identifying each object in real time, it can plan an appropriate course of action while driving, by controlling the acceleration, steering, as well as braking. By April 2014, the self-driving car fleet has logged in 1.1 million km of accident-free driving.

Needless to say, future of AI is bright and full of possibilities that might be inconceivable to the human mind right now. Its only a matter of time. (Image: Thinkstock)