Thoughts On Artificial Intelligence

Thoughts On Artificial Intelligence

Recently ,an AI robot  made headlines for being the first to be accorded legal citizenship in a country.Sophia,as the robot created by Hong-Kong based Hanson Robotics is named, was declared a Saudi Arabian citizen couple of years  ago. Not to be surprised : she is one of a kind .

Sophia
Sophia-the AI robot of Saudi Arabian Citizenship

With the ability to hold a meaningful conversation as seen in her press conferences around the globe ,she has an intelligence that arguably no other bot has possessed before.Sophia is a  perfect example of the great strides that AI has made over the years.But what does such advancement in intelligent machines mean for us, the human race?

The debate has been heated as it has been interesting.The tech community and general public have had diverse opinions regarding the state of AI . One group is skeptical of the rapid improvement in AI, with the argument that creating highly intelligent robots without the ability to have feeling or emotion would pose a great danger to the existence of the human race .One particular notable proposer of this ideology has been Elon Musk ,the US billionaire and CEO of Tesla.Hollywood has further glorified the idea through sci-fi movies like The Matrix.

On the other side are people who are quite optimistic of the great possibilities that Artificial intelligence would bring to the world.Led by Mark Zuckerberg,Facebook Founder and CEO, they seem to dispel the former group as having unjustified suspicions. With proper management,so their argument goes , a world with intelligent machines would mean a better life for human race and not its extinction.

Both groups are right.As it happens in the unending course of human civilization,every time a monumental idea is brought forth ,it is never received with celebration by every one. And that is a good thing.It ensures that we have checks in place so that we do not end up annihilating our race in a struggle to better it.

The benefits of AI are numerous and  clearly evident. It has led  to faster production in manufacturing lines of factories that have invested in it. Today’s automobile factories are arrayed with exquisite intelligent machines that perform with ease duties that were grueling to engineers before.This has led to greater output in production while lowering the cost of production.

In airports and secure areas, face recognition software is being used to beef up security and fight crime.Iris scanners are being used as a means of authentication which is virtually impossible to bypass.

In supermarkets and book stores,AI software is helping consumers to identify fake products from genuine ones. The movie and music  industry is employing AI to deal with pirating of copyrighted content. And the benefits arising from such investments cannot be overstated.

In the software industry,development has been eased by the use of automatic code generators and smart IDEs that use AI .

One particular industry that has thrived on this technology is the Social media .Facebook employs a smart AI system to generate news feed that is relevant to a user’s preferences and notify you whenever someone posts a photo of you even without them tagging you in it .Instagram uses AI to filter through photos and ensure best possible user experience.

However, even with all these benefits,Artificial intelligence has its cons.First ,it is very expensive and requires an investment of millions of dollars to fully automate a production plant.

The main concern has been the loss of jobs to robots in a world where the human population is growing spontaneously each day,leaving most of the population unemployed.A single robot can efficiently outperform several  human workers without fatigue, which makes them a more economical option for manufacturers.

Even with the great benefits it brings to communication,our information is no more unsafe than ever in the face of highly sophisticated AI software that could land in the hands of hackers.Privacy is becoming more and more elusive as software that can identify you from a photo on the internet and subsequently catalogue a huge amount information about you.

Artificial intelligence is still in its baby steps.We expect to see many greater strides made in the creation of intelligent machines.Whether they will one one day match or surpass human intelligence is something we just have to wait and see.It may not even happen in our life time . But I am confident that the progress will not stall.We should however proceed with caution. In letting the jinni out of the bottle,the results could be devastating-but mostly,they could be awesome.

By Victor Makau

I love to write and code

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