Over 39 million adults in the U.S. use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their everyday life. Siri, Google, smart speakers, appliances, cars; the list goes on and on. AI is everywhere. It predicts the weather, customizes what ads we see online and even what shows up in our social media news feed. It has become so commonplace we automatically use it and hardly notice.
Artificial Intelligence is the science and engineering of intelligent machines that can make predictions based on computer programs and data collection.
Though it is now more integrated than ever, AI is not a new concept. Even in Greek mythology intelligent machines sparked the imagination. Hollywood has long enjoyed playing on our fears that rogue computers will betray and enslave mankind (H.A.L., Matrix). It’s no wonder the line between special effects and reality is increasingly blurred.
We are infatuated with the potential of technology and we know there’s almost nothing it can’t accomplish.
Right now, at MIT, technology is being developed that can “read thoughts” by sensing the muscle movements in your jaw. Perhaps more amazing, researchers in Japan have successfully “decoded” thoughts with deep learning – generating pictures of thoughts! (Incredibly cool, but don’t use it on me! Right?) Both projects have mostly humanitarian ideals and will certainly go on as practical and useful applications.
Whether life imitates art or vice versa, there is cause for concern.
Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, cautions that AI is potentially more dangerous than nuclear weapons to mankind. Since the best way to predict the future is to invent it, he and others sponsor OpenAI, a non-profit research company that aims to develop AI technology safely. The long term focus is on positive human impact and “setting AI free“. To summarize: they believe putting development and technology in the hands of many will prevent it from being misused by a few (check out the site for their complete vision and mission statement). In other words, we can’t (and we shouldn’t) stop it, but we can (and we must) at least control this key time in its development.
Are they right?
While we’d like to believe it would be very obvious AI has gone “too far“, it’s more likely we won’t notice. For now, companies will continue to implement it into our daily experience (hello, magic mirror, one-click checkout, GPS, streaming music service, refrigerators, vacuums, nightlights, you name it). Our responsibility is to make sure we enjoy – but not depend too heavily on – AI. Be aware that you are using it. Siri and Alexa, for example, are wonderful assistants, but don’t forget they are also collecting data every time we speak to them.
Apple is actively developing Siri to be more natural. Deep learning networks map your preferences and habits. While computers are learning to talk like us, our conversation skills are declining. The way this tech will continue to impact our lives is very exciting. Really, isn’t AI supposed to make our lives better and save time? Well, save time and spend time wisely – invest in your analog life and the organic world around you!
While taking pride in Natural Intelligence, we’ll admit to depending on our devices as much as anyone (see what we did there? Natural – Artificial … nevermind).
Until computers learn to clean themselves, they will still be dependent on us! With that in mind, we’d like to remind you about our Spring Cleaning Special which offers inside and out cleaning to put some zip back in your Mac. You can even add an external hard drive back up to keep your documents and photos safe. This special runs now through June 21st (click link for details).
TechRestore also offers 10% discounts for all military (active or Veteran) and First Responders all day, every day! Thank you for your service!