There has been a constant fear lurking around the AI landscape, which has raised several debates around the technology. People fear that AI may soon exceed human intelligence. This has given rise to a new breed of fear-mongers, who can’t separate how AI can be used for good from fear of a backlash from robots.
Undoubtedly, the technology has found its way into many facets of our daily lives. Moreover, companies of all sizes are leveraging AI capabilities for many functions -- credit card fraud detection, speech recognition, web search rankings, automated customer service, legal discovery, photo search, translation, and even farming. IBM is convinced that its Watson supercomputer will be capable of executing several tasks in near future.
Despite of all the progress, we can’t really deny there remains a continuing fear about AI. Many experts have even called for urgent measures to avoid any hypothetical dystopia. However, history has proven time and again that there’s often initial skepticism and fear-mongering around disruptive technologies, before they ultimately improve human life.
IBM’s letter to Congress stresses on the importance of AI
IBM wants to make sure nothing deters the progress Watson is making in the AI space in terms of capabilities. The organization is urging lawmakers to not fall prey to the AI fear mongering. Stressing on the same, IBM Watson's Senior Vice President David Kenny wrote a letter to Congress. The letter focuses on the importance of promoting AI research, instead of restricting or limiting it.
Kenny mentions that we have to understand that Artificial intelligence doesn’t really support the fear-mongering commonly associated with the AI debate today. This realization will only come when we do the science of machine intelligence, and apply AI-based technologies in the in the real world of business and society.
Kenny believes that the fears surrounding "massive job loss, or even an eventual AI 'overlord' " are mostly exaggerated and dystopian in nature. According to him, the real misfortune lies in inhibiting advances in the space, long before the technology fully matures.
Industry experts stressing on AI advances
Undoubtedly, the capabilities of the technology stretch across jobs like driving, reading X-rays, diagnosing illnesses, and performing paralegal work. This could mean a loss of significant number of jobs across the industry. There are two sides of the AI advances. Several industry experts divide their opinions between the two sides.
The Co-founder of Apple’s Siri and virtual assistant A.I. startup Viv, Adam Cheyer believes that AI will become too smart to worrying about overpopulation on Mars. Cheyer comments, “We're barely at the beginning of A.I. There's nothing to even be done yet."
Another notable personality Jeff Bezos has earlier mentioned that the problem with artificial intelligence is that we don't have more of it. His popular offering Amazon Alexa relies heavily on AI. Bezos remarks, “Basically, there's no institution in the world that cannot be improved with machine learning.” Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have also rushed to the defense of A.I.
However, the industry also houses a vocal group that fears the rise of AI. Stressing on that fear, several surveys reveal that AI will be capable of performing any task--from driving trucks to writing novels in the foreseeable future. Even, Elon Musk agrees with these ideas, and has mentioned that this would happen closer to 2030.
SoftBank Group’s Chief Executive Masayoshi Son also talked about the concerns surrounding AI advances. The industry leader believes that AI-powered robots will outnumber human population within three decades. His organization has pulled off a large number of deals in the past year, which addresses the transformation that Son talk about.
Renowned physicist Professor Stephen Hawking has expressed similar fears surrounding AI in the past. He has warned that the creation of powerful artificial intelligence will be “either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity.”
IBM’s push for AI comes about a month after Congressional Artificial Intelligence Caucus was formed. The group aims to not only study AI, but also create policies related to the use and implementation of the technology.
AI developments will scale new heights over the next thirty years, and robots will be extensively making use of that intelligence. These robots will prove useful tools for humankind, without being aware of us in any serious manner. Worrying about a malevolent AI is nothing but fear mongering and a waste of time at the moment, as the technology is still in its development stages.
We should be focusing more on inventing better and smarter AI. This might take a considerable amount of time, but on the brighter side, every step guarantees rewards. Moreover, robots will become abundant in our homes, stores, farms, offices, hospitals, and all our work places. To think about it, we might not be actually able to live without them, in the future that’s about to come.
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With a background in Engineering, Amit has assumed the mantle of content analyst at Analytics India Magazine. An audiophile most of the times, with a soul consumed by wanderlust, he strives ahead in the disruptive technology space. In other life, he would invest his time into comics, football, and movies.