Humans have been considered the most intelligent beings in this world for years now, until the invention of Artificial Intelligence. Through the years we have lived and survived through a lot of adverse situations and calamities. When faced with problems that threated our existence, we used our intelligence to experiment, discover and create new things that help us to survive. What started off as a part of survival, soon turned into a quest for comfort and luxury. Today, we have machines to do everything that was once done by men.
Artificial Intelligence is said to be the future of this quest for a comfortable living. We are looking at a time where we feed data into a computer and let it do all the thinking and analyzing instead of us, so that we can sit back and relax and not use our intelligence at all. However, will creating a machine with virtual intelligence that beats Human intelligence mean a threat to the survival of the human race itself?
So, what is Artificial Intelligence really?
Matter of 500 years back, as the sun set, the streets would be plunged into darkness. The meager light from oil lamps and candles were the only thing that kept human beings going through the nights. Soon, few great minds discovered electricity and invented electric lights. This was slowly adapted into street lights so the world would not be completely dark, even in the night. However, a person was required to turn the street lights on or off at the right time. As years passed by, street lights were fixed with timers so that they could turn on and off based on the time of the day. This meant that the street lights would come on at a fixed time, even if it was not really dark yet. Today, human beings have come up with artificial technology where the lights are integrated with light sensors so that they turn on in the evening only when it is dark around them and turn off automatically in the mornings, when there is light available. This is just one of the simplest machine learning examples that is a huge part of our life today.
While it may seem like Artificial Intelligence is a fairly recent technological advancement, studies have shown that AI has existed for over 50 years now. In all basic explanatory terms, AI is nothing but creating a computer or computer-controlled technology that can think and analyze information the same way as a Human brain does. We receive information through our sensory organs by sight, sound, smell and touch. Similarly, computer receives information through data bulk that is either uploaded by humans or it can even be programmed to collect all the data it requires on its own. Just the way our brain processes and analyzes the information received through the sensory organs, similarly AI is able to process the data by image processing, speech recognition, pattern recognition
What this means to the next generation?
There was a time when people were completely vulnerable to natural calamities like flood, earthquake, storms etc. Today, upload a bunch of climatic conditions, temperature fluctuations and data into the computer and through the classification of the data, the computer will be able to predict if there is a calamity headed our way. This will give us the time needed to prepare ourselves for the calamity and get people to safety.
It is not just this, the rise in Virtual Intelligence is said to benefit in a lot of other fields such as health, education, finances, biotech, risk management etc. Similarly, it is not just about predictions like “will the stocks of a brand rise or fall in the future?” Artificial Intelligence has the ability to throw light on quantitative data as well, such as “By how much will the price of the stock go up or down?”
Is Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning all boon?
Even before Artificial Intelligence, we had a way of analyzing data and creating statistical predictions in all of the above mentioned fields. There was no machine involved in this process, it was completely done by human beings using their intelligence and analyzing capabilities. However, Human beings make errors and computers do not! This could mean a more error free and precise data that could help make our lives a lot easier.
At the same time, Artificial Intelligence could also mean a lot of people laid out of their jobs because a single machine can do as much work as done by a 100 employees. It also means that human beings are completely dependent on machine learning to process and analyze all the data. So at an adverse situation where the machine breaks down, it could mean disastrous outcomes to human beings!
As great minds rightfully say, “Technology is a double-edged sword!” Until we have power over it, we can benefit from it. But once AI finds its power over us, it could pose a threat to our very existence!