If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
The invention of an artificial super-intelligence has been a central theme in science fiction since at least the 19th century. From E.M. Forster's short story The Machine Stops (1909) to the recent HBO television series Westworld, writers have tended to portray this possibility as an unmitigated disaster. But this issue is no longer one of fiction. Prominent contemporary scientists and engineers are now also worried that super-AI could one day surpass human intelligence (an event known as the "singularity") and become humanity's "worst mistake". Current trends suggest we are set to enter an international arms race for such a technology.
Looking at the way we live today, it's easy to think that relatively recent discoveries and innovations in science and technology are responsible for our modern lifestyle. But even the newest devices and equipment today have their foundations in technology developed centuries ago. The technology used for information exchange, communication, transportation and many other essential aspects of our lives are all a result of a series of inventions and innovations that go back well into the past. Let's take a look at some of the most crucial technological advancements in history. Using glass to refract light is a simple idea, but it took humanity a long time to discover it.
You hear a lot these days about the sheer transformative power of AI. There's pure intelligence: DeepMind's algorithms readily beat humans at Go and StarCraft, and DeepStack triumphs over humans at no-limit hold'em poker. Often, these silicon brains generate gameplay strategies that don't resemble anything from a human mind. There's astonishing speed: algorithms routinely surpass radiologists in diagnosing breast cancer, eye disease, and other ailments visible from medical imaging, essentially collapsing decades of expert training down to a few months. Although AI's silent touch is mainly felt today in the technological, financial, and health sectors, its impact across industries is rapidly spreading.
Here's the good news about artificial intelligence: the Terminator vision of the future, where smart machines turn on humanity, is unlikely. But here's the bad news: we could be heading for disaster anyway thanks to this revolutionary technology. That, at least, is the conclusion of the filmmakers behind Machine, who spent the past year researching the state of play in AI in the hope their documentary might provoke some serious thinking on the subject before it's too late. The documentary Machine ponders the ethical questions posed by the rise of artificial intelligence, including the nature of interactions between humans and sexbots.Credit:Finch "There's a lot of decisions we're making right now that will have ripple effects for decades to come," says Justin Krook, the director of the film. "In the whole history of humanity we've never had so much power at our disposal, and we only have one chance to get these decisions right. "People are worried about the robot apocalypse but that's not exactly the biggest threat we're facing here.
The advent of technology has truly defined the beginning of the millennium. Social media sites, the internet, the increase of start-up ventures and the streamlining of every and any kind of process has made access to our heart's desires as easy as a push or a click. Have fresh, hand-cooked food delivered to your door in a matter of 30 minutes. Now there is no need -- Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat will give you everything you want to know (and perhaps do not want to know) about their lives at this present moment. If express trains or other forms of optimised public transport are not enough, you have the likes of Uber and Lyft to take you directly to your destination if you choose.
Machine Learning, a recurrent and obvious topic in Science and Technology, will also radically change the way research is carried out in the Social Sciences and the Humanities in a near future. A close cooperation between SSH scholars and computer scientists could have a huge impact on both SSH and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related research topics. On the one hand, social scientists and humanities scholars may not be able to design and implement themselves the machine learning algorithms they need for their research. The role of a linguist, a historian or a social scientist should be thus to help computer scientists outperform current machine learning models by offering them theoretical approaches both could adapt together to improve their accuracy. This conference, organised by the Social Sciences and Humanities Working Group of the Coimbra Group, will explore the practical possibilities Machine Learning offers to selected research fields within SSH, particularly linguistics, literature, musicology, and sociology.
In Padang, West Sumatra, San Francisco-based non-profit organisation Rainforest Connection is mounting used cellphones on trees to detect sounds that originate from chainsaws or trucks belonging to illegal loggers. Rangers, villagers and law enforcement agencies are then alerted to the illegal activities and can take action. In Singapore, DBS Bank is predicting when employees will quit, so management can intervene and retain staff. In Taipei, Taiwan's performing arts centre National Theatre and Concert Hall is using technology to provide automatic sub-titling so that people with hearing disabilities can also enjoy performances. What unites the three cities in their cutting-edge exploits is a new frontier technology known as artificial intelligence (AI).
In a provocative op-ed in the New York Times last week, PayPal and Palantir founder Peter Thiel argued that artificial intelligence is "a military technology." So, he asks, why are companies like Google and Microsoft, which have opened research labs in China to recruit Chinese researchers for their cutting-edge AI research, "sharing it with a rival"? Thiel's op-ed caused a big splash in the AI community and frustrated experts in both AI and US-China relations. An outspoken Trump backer, Thiel has been a leading voice pushing for tech to be more aligned with what he sees as America's defense interests -- and his messages have been influential among conservative intellectuals. Critics pointed out that Thiel had failed to disclose that his company, Palantir, has defense contracts with the US government totaling more than $1 billion, and that he might benefit from portraying AI as a military technology (a characterization of AI that experts dispute).
Opinion: it's likely that artificial intelligence will do more good than harm for human civilisation The solar system is full of debris and rocks floating around. A meteor shower or a shooting star is debris burning up upon entry to the atmosphere. A much larger rock that could make its way through is an asteroid. About 66 million years ago, the impact from an asteroid brought about the Cretaceous extinction. A repetition of this event is theoretically possible - and the same could be said about all-powerful Artificial Intelligence Overlords marginalising the human race.
"The Greatest benefit of the arrival of artificial intelligence is that AIs will help define humanity. We need AIs to tell us who we are, " writes the editor of Wired Kevin Kelly in his book "The Inevitable". Since time immemorial, humans have been grappling with defining our identity and determining the meaning of life. The advent of AI is expected to usher in unprecedented changes, both positive and negative, and its true implications will depend on how well we manage them. Who we are we-- just the byproduct of nature, combination of cells and neurons, or something very different?