At times, modern artificial intelligence still feels like science fiction. A few decades ago, the kind of AI programs of today would have seemed almost outrageous -- self-driving cars, systems that have mastered the most challenging game in the world, and even programs that could alert doctors to medical errors before they happen. Despite the incredible progress and potential, public opinion of AI remains rooted in science fiction -- evil entities, out to destroy mankind. The area gets a bad rap in the press, in Hollywood, and even from tech and science leaders like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk. Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) and longtime AI researcher, says this depiction of an "evil AI" is far off the mark from the reality of today's tech.
Ever since Ken Jennings got toasted on Jeopardy by "IBM Watson" in 2011, a host of incredible things have been happening in the world of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and literally training super computers to learn. There have been a lot of "fits and starts" with artificial intelligence in the past 4 decades, but like it or not, it has only really arrived in the last 5 years. Computational power is off the charts compared to even a decade ago. Autonomous vehicles and robots did not exist on an actual road 5 years ago, with actual potential human driven cars; they were displayed in closely coordinated demonstrations, and up until last week, millions of miles were driven without a fatality. Bill Gates, who admittedly jumped the gun on AI in the 1990s, now believes, this is it in 2016.
More than 2 million viewers tuned into a Go match series broadcast live from South Korea on YouTube in March. For the first time, global attention was focused on the ancient Chinese board game as Lee Se-dol, one of the world's top players, took on an artificial intelligence program named AlphaGo -- created by Deep Mind, Google's appropriately named AI research team. AlphaGo won 4-1, despite excited cheering from Lee's fans. Interest in AI has spiked in South Korea in recent months. The administration of President Park Geun-hye has announced that it will invest 1 trillion South Korean won ( 866 million) over the next five years to develop AI technologies through joint private-public projects.
He is a German computer scientist and artist known for his work on machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), artificial neural networks, digital physics, and low-complexity art. "We need to be super careful with artificial intelligence. It is potentially more dangerous than nukes." That was Elon Musk two years ago, on Twitter. What does it mean for a technology, when it faces serious doubts from a man who is passionate about creating a better world through innovation? Since its beginnings in the 1950s, artificial intelligence has been a favourite subject of science fiction. But now AI has entered the realm of fact: several studies predict that intelligent machines will have a big impact on how we work, how we move and even how wars are fought. Innovators and scientists around the world believe that now is the time to ensure that AI is beneficial above all for humans. And even if there are plausible reasons to be anxious about machines that could one day be more intelligent than we are, many scientists are ready to take up the challenge, as we explain in our feature on the following pages. Some people fret that artificial intelligence will end civilization as we know it. Others believe it can solve every problem.
At the end of last month, Sundar Pichai wrote his first annual shareholder letter as CEO of Google. Eight months prior, Larry Page and Sergey Brin led a restructure of the company they founded, separating its core internet business from subsidiaries focusing on new areas of innovation, such as self-driving cars, drones, augmented reality, biotech and life sciences. Page and Brin now lead umbrella company Alphabet as CEO and president respectively, while Pichai heads up Google. It was the first time the annual shareholder letter had been written by anyone other than Page and Brin. Pichai kept it simple, outlining the key areas Google will focus on across its product lines – but he was bold enough to say they will all be driven by a long-term investment in machine learning and artificial intelligence.