Artificial Intelligence: has 'the Future' come? (by Obinna Okwuolisa)

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Image result for terminator



Colexia wakes you up at 6 a.m.

You sit up and scroll through your Twitter feed. Then you look up, to see Colexia coming towards you; bringing your morning pills. And your breakfast.

Colexia already knows what you want for breakfast: that you love your eggs brown, and your coffee dark.

While you wash in the bathroom, Colexia makes your bed, and prepares your to-do list as well. Without prompting, Colexia has already predicted how your day would go, and syncs your calendar, previous to-dos, and social media events to accurately predict your daily routine.

As you approach your car, the ignition turns on, and the heating is started, to warm the insides of the car and protect you from the chill of February. The back door flips open of its own accord, you hop in, and the door shuts behind you.

Although, there's no visible human in the driver's seat, the car gets in motion. The voice you've gotten used to seeps through the car speakers:

"Good-morning Boss. Are we headed to work now?"

"Yes please". You don't even bother to look up from the LinkedIn stories you're already catching up on.

"Great. We'll take the shortest route, with the lightest traffic.

On your way, 'the voice' doesn't just read you the news, it prepares you for it.

"I have some not so pleasant information; Bitcoins dipped by 0.07%, but it is expected to bounce back..." It carries on with the conversation.

As you get to work, your digital personal assistant, Paulxia - who does ninety percent of your work and quite frankly, better and faster than you could ever do it - has your reports for your 4pm meeting ready.

So you basically spend the greater part of your day: Chilling.

***

As recent as ten years ago, the above tasks by Colexia, Paulxia and ‘the voice’ of your car could only form the plot for a futuristic, sci-fi movie, if not executed by actual human beings.

(Or witches)

Today, Artificial Intelligence has enabled the creation of machines which mimic human intelligence.

For the benefit of those of us who are not 'techies', Artificial intelligence (AI) is software that writes itself. Simply put, it is a creation of humans, to enable machines learn and act on their own, without human aid.

AI comes in handy when the data to be processed outweighs human capacity.

An example is when a drone conducts a citywide surveillance. The big data to be acquired is too big for humans to analyze and sort out each distinctive movement, without great difficulty. AI is employed in achieving this, by identifying and tracking the movements of any car or human.

AI is employed by Facebook, Google, and other big tech companies in understanding the preferences of their users, and customising the products made available to them, to fit these needs.

Best of all, AI simply makes the life of a human easy. And beautiful.

Although the fictional narrative at the start of this post has some exaggerated features, some of what is said is already a reality. We have driverless cars, and Google map tells you when there is traffic and the best route to take.

Last year, in an AI experiment conducted by Facebook, it was discovered that two AI 'chatbots' communicated between each other, in their own language.

Facebook noted that the Project marked an important step towards "creating chatbots that can reason, converse and negotiate, all key steps in building a personalized assistant".

In other words, these machines would really be able to hold conversations with one another on their own.

AI is not just a tool for the tech juggernauts. You and I use AI in everyday lives, without consciously realising it.

For instance, when you upload a new picture to Facebook, Deepface (a Facebook AI software) analyzes the picture; the face in the picture is recognized and a name suggested, even without you tagging anyone to the photograph.

Pretty recently, the internet was set on fire with the release of pictures of – (ahem... (cough!)  'pleasure-dolls'.

The uproar on social media was not caused by just the exorbitant prices of the dolls. Rather, it was the realisation that in addition to 'side-chicks' and 'boy-toys', humans would now have to compete with perfect machines for affection.

(The End is near)

Yes... Artificial intelligence is in its infantile stage, just like how phones were many years ago. In the nearest future however, AI is bound to evolve. Whether or not it would evolve into the bane of (wo)mankind is something that only time will tell.

But do you remember that future that ‘I, Robot’, Terminator, Robocop and the Matrix told us about?

With AI, that future has come.

Obinna.


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Photo-Credit: Poster for "The Terminator - Genisys"

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4 comments

  1. AI is in vogue but it'd take a while before it's perfected. There's being instance when Robots and the likes malfunctions and the results are ususally catastrophic. Recently, one of the newly upgraded tesla cars that's self-driven had an accident and hit a stationary truck. Before then Tesla and scientist said that it was impossible for that to happen. One thing is for sure that over time, we know AI would get better. Nice piece.

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  2. I don't know if I should be excited or not but I mostly feel sad. What becomes of my two children when their relevance (futuristically speaking) is constantly threatened by new technologies? What needs to be done to ensure that they stay on top ? The coming generations have to be prepared, what are we doing to prepare them?

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    Replies
    1. I guess as humans, we'd have to increase our own intelligence to surpass that of the machines we are creating. Don't worry... nothing to be scared of. 😊

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