AI - Myths and Controversies
Updated: Oct 8, 2020
What is Artificial Intelligence
Right from self-driving cars to SIRI, artificial intelligence (AI) is progressing at a rapid pace. While the science and the fiction often portray AI as robots that have human-like characteristics, AI can encompass anything right from Google’s search algorithms to IBM’s Watson and to autonomous weapons.
Artificial Intelligence is also known as the “narrow AI” which simply means that it is designed in such a way that it performs all the narrow work, such as Facial Recognition, self-driving cars etc. However, the long-term goal of many researchers is to create a general AI i.e., AGI i.e, Artificial General Intelligence or Smart AI. While narrow AI might outperform humans at whatever task it is right from playing chess to solving equations, and AGI would outperform humans at nearly every cognitive task possible.
Research on AI and it is safe
Many big names along with Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, etc., in the field of science and technology have recently expressed their concern in the media and via open letters about the risks that are being involved in the AI. This was also joined by many leading AI researchers. And all their question was “Why is the subject suddenly in the headlines?”
However, thanks to some of the recent breakthroughs, and the AI milestones that have happened, which the experts viewed as decades away merely five years ago, have now been reached, and it is making many experts think seriously with regards to the possibility of super intelligence in our lifetime. Some of the other experts are still guessing that human-level AI is centuries away, most AI researchers at the Puerto Rico conference guessed that it would only happen before 2060. Since it may take decades to complete the required safety research, it will also be important to start working towards it now.
Because AI has that potentiality to become more intelligent than humans, we have no proper and defined way of predicting how it will behave. It is understood that we cannot use all our past technological developments as a basis because we’ve never created anything that has the ability to be, wittingly or unwittingly, outsmart us. The innovation level is risen to a level were in people now control the planet, and when I say that, it is not because we’re the strongest, fastest, or biggest, but because we are the smartest.
Top myths about the advanced Artificial Intelligence
The most captivating conversation that is taking place about the future of artificial intelligence and what changes it will/should make for humanity and how far it means to the humanity. There are many such fascinating controversies which even the world’s leading experts disagree with, such as: AI’s future impact on the job market; if/when human-level AI will be developed; to what extent will it go? whether this will lead to an intelligence explosion with the advancements and other innovations?; or will this be something that we should not welcome or fear to welcome?.
Let’s now look into the myths that are involved in the advanced artificial intelligence:
Timeline Myths: The first myth is the timeline myth and this is related to how long will it take for the machines to get into the human level of thinking/intelligence. One popular myth is that we know we’ll be getting the superhuman i.e., AI, this century. There’s this known fact that history is full of technological over-hyping. Some of them questions of where are those fusion power plants and flying cars that we were promised to have by now? It is also said that AI has also been repeatedly over-hyped in the past, even by some of the founders of the same field.
There’s also this related myth which says that people worry about AI and they think it’s only a few years away. In fact, most people on the records worry about the superhuman AI and they guess that it’s still at least decades away. Some of them even argue that as long as we’re not 100% sure that it won’t happen this century, it is wise to start a safety research on now to prepare for the upcoming eventuality. Many of the safety problems that are being associated with human-level AI are so hard that they may take decades to solve the problems.
Controversy Myths: This is another common misconception - the only people possessing concerns about AI and keeping a key track on the AI safety research are luddites or simply called as the opposers, who don’t know much about the topic. When Stuart Russell, author of the standard AI textbook, mentioned the same thing during his Puerto Rico talk, the audience laughed at him loudly. Another related misconception is that supporting the AI safety research is highly controversial. In order, to support the modest investment in AI safety research, people don’t really need to be convinced that the risks involved in this research are high and are merely non-negligible.
The most interesting Controversies
Without wasting much of time on the above-mentioned misconceptions, let us now focus on the true and the most interesting controversies where even experts disagree. What sort of future do you want? Should we really develop lethal autonomous weapons? What would you like to happen with the job automation? What is the career advice that you would give to today’s kids? Would you prefer a new job or just replacement of the old one, or a jobless society where everyone enjoys a life leisurely with machine-produced wealth? Further to this, do we really control the intelligent machines or will they control us? Will the machines replace us, coexist with us, or even merge with us? and how can we make the future be that way?
The bottom line is that, we should believe in AI more than the myths. It also depends on the fact that the inevitable evolution is in the hands of humans and how the humans will use available tools and technology. The Digital workers, researchers and many other industry experts who are powered by AI are already working for you with the existing technologies that use AI as the base.
In the end, all have to do is just sit back and see whatever is coming our way. But the ultimate fact is that this is the field that has so many advancements, innovation and surprises that we have to look out for, there’s no doubt in that. And we can also say that, this field will from the front, irrespective the type of field, sectors etc.