Artificial intelligence celebrates its 50th year this year and it is only advancing at a more rapid pace than ever before. From its very first task, which was to represent reasoning by a rule-based system, it has evolved into the professional field, the corporate environment, and even in the homes of many people. In the past it could never be compared to the reasoning of a human being, but even that has been improved during the course of the past half century. Descartes’ logical belief that man is not machine may be a rewritten as the machine is now man.
Some of the important artificial intelligence advancements have shown that intelligence can be created out of nothing. A machine is becoming more and more likely to think like a human being. The term artificial consciousness was given to this phenomenon, but many people do not realise what this means and how it could affect their lives. It refers to a consciousness that literally has to be created for its body to function properly. This concept has undergone serious scrutiny from the fields of philosophy. Some of the popular questions that are asked are things like would this intelligence be able to think on different mental levels? Would it be subject to higher thinking and reasoning? Would it be able to remember what it has learned?
These questions are still undergoing heated debate by experts in the field, but this does not stop the artificial intelligence field to blossom in its own right. Researchers have noted that artificial intelligence might even change the way we live in 15 years’ time. It is said that in 2030 our urban lifestyles will be unrecognisable. One of the things that was most talked about was self-driving cars, which is already happening in major car brands like Hyundai and Toyota. Another popular one was the fact that robots would be working as service people inside of houses and taking care of tasks such as cleaning. A more important aspect that was raised was education. There are already things like interactive tutoring systems that help students study, but this might evolve so that it requires no input from humans at all. Could artificial intelligence be the solution to the concerning education rates seen in third world countries?
Some of the other areas that had been covered were the evolution of entertainment and how we would be able to access it anywhere, better public and safety measures that could easily be implemented, rapid rates of change in the workplace, and low-resource communities that would be uplifted with new technologies. The problem with these ideas is that they are still pretty far away in the future while we have already created artificial intelligence projects in our current lifetime. Here is a look at what has already been achieved in the field of artificial intelligence by experts in the field.
Virtual personal assistants
Obviously this is not a hologram that walks around in your office, bringing you tea and typing out your every command. It is much smaller. Virtual personal assistants can be found in almost every smart phone. Some of the popular names are Siri and Cortana who can both help you find useful information if you need it. All you do is speak into the phone with a command and the virtual assistant will send the information to the relevant apps. If you want to do a Google search, you will receive your information within seconds. Looking for a route? Simply speak and see the route open up on your Maps app.
This is probably the first place where artificial intelligence took is position in the residential lives of people. The artificial intelligence in video games has become to evolve that characters in the video game can analyse your behaviour, respond to stimuli and react in unpredictable ways. Even though it is a very simple form of artificial intelligence, it is one that has been useful nonetheless. Games like Far Cry put you in a position where the character has to use certain tactics in order to survive. In other games, NPCs are able to remember things or story lines that you followed along your journey.
We have said that self-driving cars are not so far from the future as we think it is. Smart cars are on the rise and some have already been placed on the highways. Some companies are experimenting in traffic analysis along with auto pilot features. This would allow the car to make decisions for you, whilst you perhaps sit back, relax and enjoy the Sunday paper. Things like cruise control in a car are already one step towards creating cars that can drive on their own.
Artificial intelligence has already been used by corporate companies as part of their marketing strategies. This is why companies such as Amazon or Target get it right to analyse your purchases and suggest similar products to complement it. The sending of coupons, advertisements, and newsletters saying that you haven’t been spending at their stores in a while are all part of intelligent marketing schemes – and these tools can all be found online in the form of SEO. However, this has raised concerns as people feel that their privacy might be threatened during the rise of artificial intelligences.
One of the most useful artificial intelligences is the concept of fraud detection which has already been initiated by banks all over the world. Many people receive letters from their banks asking if they have made a certain purchase, especially if it is a large amount. Artificial intelligence is often applied to this type of technology to ensure that you are safe. This has helped banks to tackle fraudsters who scam people with their credit cards.
Interested in API strategy, architecture, and design. Working to improve the quality and usability of information on the Web. CTO @OrfiumMusic