Google and Facebook have an almost perfect log of your comings and goings and they can combine that information with artificial intelligence to predict things about you. The systems are big and sophisticated, but their capabilities are still a far cry from the friendly, charismatic Samantha in the movie Her or the devilish, horrifying HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey. After all, no one wants a HAL taking us out.) But algorithms are slowly getting smarter. Computer scientists are programming systems that can teach themselves to play Atari games and poker, all on their own.
Parts of this essay by Andrew Smart are adapted from his book Beyond Zero And One (2015), published by OR Books. Machine intelligence is growing at an increasingly rapid pace. The leading minds on the cutting edge of AI research think that machines with human-level intelligence will likely be realized by the year 2100. Beyond this, artificial intelligences that far outstrip human intelligence would rapidly be created by the human-level AIs. This vastly superhuman AI will result from an "intelligence explosion."
As Samantha's psychological and intellectual capacities grow, so does Theodore and Samantha's love for each other. The line between the consciousness experienced by intelligent machines and human beings will be blurrier than we would like to admit. Programming AI to have the capacity to feel love can allow us to create more compassionate AI and may be the very key to avoiding the AI apocalypse many fear. The person, place, event or service making the request or statement haven't realized that they are already serving or love to begin with.
Artificial intelligence is beginning to disrupt entire industries from finance to medicine. Yet the most revolutionary application has yet to arrive--and it's an existential one. As thinking machines become more integrated into our lives, we must expect a transformation in how we define what it means to be conscious; what it means to live and to die; and ultimately, what it means to love a non-human being. These questions are artfully explored in the plot of the 2013 sci-fi film, Her, which tells the story of a man who falls deeply in love with an intelligent operating system. This OS, Samantha, is designed to evolve and adapt her personality to appeal to Theodore.
These claims are not ludicrous on their own. We've seen rapid advancements in technology over the past decades; we know computers are growing more powerful and more accessible by the month. Already in 2011, a supercomputer named Watson won a game of Jeopardy against two former champions, using a mixture of AI and all-important natural-language processing. The future is here and it may soon outstrip us. Kurzweil's timeline of the technological singularity is based on the law of accelerating returns, wherein the more powerful computers become, the faster they advance.