Technology is growing at an exponential rate and it has become just a matter of time before A.l. becomes part of our everyday life. So, what exactly is Artificial Intelligence?
Intelligence has different definitions depending on what source you're looking at, but it's essentially the ability to understand, solve problems, communicate, be self-awarene, and have logic, memory and the ability to write blogs (not funny, I know, but you get the idea).
Therefore, Artificial Intelligence is a machine that has a software which allows it to think for itself. While no human-level artificial intelligence exists yet, it does raise the question of whether humans will benefit from this invention or not.
The potential and threats of A.I.:
We have all noticed how technology is taking over some of the low skill jobs in our society. Robots do not get tired, they don't have emotional trauma or a need to go to the bathroom, and they don't have desires. Although the initial cost of replacing humans with a robot might seem expensive, in certain cases it would cost much less in the long run than a human salary. One of the largest industry in terms of human employment is the transportation industry. Unfortunately for them, self driving vehicle technology is advancing at an increasing rate. In fact, self driving cars are not part of the future but rather part of the present. The question is how quickly will self driving vehicles take over the industry? Taxi drivers have more than Uber to be worried about.
The service industry is already taking a hit, with iPads at restaurants where you can order what you want from the touch of a screen. Don't worry too much though, there will still be waiter/waitresses and good looking bartenders that will make you feel like you're the one. But wouldn't it be kind of cool to replace the grumpy dude on Saint-Laurent that serves you Chow Mein when you're drunk and desperate with a faster, well mannered robot? Sorry dude but you flipped out on my friend for peanuts. Literally.
I'm not done yet. Even mental labour isn't safe! Yeah that's right, there's already an artificial intelligence that can investigate data and deliver it to you in a linguistic, beautifully written piece. This A.I. is called Quill and it's already producing articles. But of course there's no way A.I. could ever challenge my humor and personal touch....right!? And even though this A.I. has a higher productivity level than any human writer (scary I know) the truth of the matter is, technology is growing faster than biology.
The threats of Artificial Intelligence are not limited to only labor but to human existence. Humans still to this day don't completely understand consciousness, but futurists and scholars are predicting singularity. Singularity is when technological intelligence will surpass human intelligence. So basically consciousness is all that will be lacking and this raises perhaps one of the most crucial questions ever: If humans are eventually able to understand consciousness, should they program it into a robot? I know this sounds far fetched, but could they wipe us off the map?
I can only think of one sentence that says it all..."One day, artificial intelligence will look back on us the same way we look at fossil skeletons on the plains of Africa: Upright apes, ready for extinction." A perfect line from the movie Ex Machina. I hope this won't be the case, but it's hard to have faith in the same species that figured out how to split an atom only to drop an atomic bomb a few years later.
With that being said, cheers to the pre-A.I. era!