If the term “Artificial Intelligence” brings to mind images of Ex Machina or R2-D2, you’re not alone. In today’s day and age, the thought of AI usually brings an idea of robots joining our society, taking our jobs and possibly even taking over the world. Is this what we are to expect from AI in 2019? Not exactly.
What is it?
Artificial Intelligence describes machine processes that allow computers to think and behave in a way that resembles human intelligence. When Siri answers your questions about the weather as if she was a real person, that is AI in action. But just because with AI, computers seem like they have intelligence, we’re not quite at the stage of them walking around and behaving like your average Joe. There are still limitations to AI, and we have yet to completely discover the extent of possibilities for the technology. To date, there are two categories of AI that distinguish the varying levels of intelligence used: Narrow AI and AGI.
Narrow AI is all around us. This is the technology powering Siri, google search, self-driving cars, and chatbots. Narrow AI has a restricted level of intelligence and can usually only do one task really well. Although talking with a Chatbot can feel like talking to a real person, that chatbot cannot use its intelligence to perform any task outside of answering the range of questions it is programmed to answer. The type of intelligence used by Narrow AI is almost similar to that of a pet. They can recognize commands and behave accordingly yet they don’t fully understand the true meaning of what is occurring. When I tell my dog to sit, he obeys the command, yet he doesn’t actually know the meaning of the word “sit”. When I ask Siri the height of Brad Pitt, she spurts the correct answer from google without actually knowing who Brad Pitt is or what “height” means.
Narrow AI is used everywhere and has been transformative for society. It has helped the corporate world through improving productivity, providing data-based insights and simplifying many processes. Likewise, Narrow AI has been a great and fun addition to the rest of society. For a recent fun example of AI in action, check out this bot who wrote an episode of Queer Eye.
AGI stands for Artificial General Intelligence and describes the type of AI we typically see in movies. This AI can act independently and apply its intelligence to many different problems. Consequently, AGI can think, learn and act just like a human. This is the AI we tend to be afraid of. The idea that a robot can think like a human, and do it better, usually sparks fear of a robot-run world where humans serve as the underlings. Luckily, AGI is still in its infancy so we’re not quite at the point where we have to worry about robot-domination. But, AGI doesn’t have to be this bleak. As our knowledge of the technology grows, new possibilities and uses for AGI will emerge. Increased knowledge will reveal ways to use this technology for improving society and solving many of our most pressing issues, from poverty to global warming.
Will we be jobless?
One of the most pressing concerns surrounding AI right now is the fear that AI will take our jobs. This is a real fear. A 2017 McKinsey report concluded that 60% of all occupations can automate at least 30% of their operations. That’s a lot of jobs that may be lost to a bot.
The good news is, that although AI may start taking over jobs with repetitive functions, such as in the transportation and delivery industry, there are reports that through taking these jobs AI will actually end up creating more jobs. The demand for data scientists, engineers and software developers will continue to grow in tandem with the growth of the prevalence of AI. This will help make sure that there are jobs available for people. Through retraining and skill expansion, many workers displaced by automation will have the opportunity to build new skills and enter into different jobs to sustain employment.
AI is an interesting topic as the technology has yet to reach its peak. With so many possibilities the future of AI can take many paths and change the world in many ways. We’d love to hear your predictions and thoughts on AI, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to share!
Another line from Bobby, “the builder of every structure on Earth” is exactly how his mind must work on the show. . (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.revelist.com/internet/queer-eye-funny-script/16085/another-line-from-bobby-the-builder-of-every-structure-on-earth-is-exactly-how-his-mind-must-work-on-the-show/4
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