Defining the Role of Artificial Intelligence

Electricity flowing through computer printed circuitboard style brain graphic

The process of incorporating Artificial Intelligence into the functions of everyday life is a revolution that is coming, in fact, to a reality near you. The days where any mention of A.I. brought with it notions of cheesy 80’s Sci-fi flicks, (most iconically defined by clunky robots going beep, beep) have come and past.

The truth, rather in fact, is less fantastic… and much more, well, ordinary.

What A.I. Currently is, and What it’s Not.

Currently, A.I. has proven itself to be a great tool (emphasis on ‘Tool’) in giving companies a competitive edge in the world of business. They might not be shining our shoes and bleeping ‘Yes Master’ in binary code just yet, as everyday tasks requiring uniquely ‘human’ rationale is currently fairly difficult for Robots to handle. But an A.I.’s ability to efficiently shift through unfathomable amounts of data makes them much more than just glorified software. Specifically, it is an A.I.’s ability to ‘Learn’ that has distinguished them from simply being a chugging pile of lug nuts.

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For example, some manufacturing plants are connected to a mainframe network that must continuously analyze stimuli. A human by him/herself could not do this, especially for a duration of… well, forever, and constantly, in fact. But with A.I., not only can it continuously analyze data as it arrives, but it can also identify patterns and work upon any ‘new’ factors, without falling asleep at the wheel, as a human would. Okay, so these ‘robots’ don’t exactly exude personality. But regardless, they are playing an increasingly crucial role in business: being put to use in the same way an office would put a google spreadsheet or a printer to use, except on an infinitely more sophisticated level.

Yet, there is still something quite fantastic about a talking box shuffling through your music library on demand, isn’t there? (I’m looking at you, Alexa) So, why shouldn’t one that can shuffle through and analyze enormous amounts of data be any less superb? Well, it shouldn’t. If anything, an A.I.’s ability to learn new things alone is its most profound trait. It will come to a point that this will be the basis for which its own personality will be sprung from (I.e. it won’t be programmed into it by us).

Artificial Intelligence & Deep Learning

This trait is characterized by what is called ‘Deep Learning,’ which is defined as machines engaging in reasoning which is non-linear. Traditionally, this type of thinking is what makes humans, well… human: conceptualizing a concept from multiple angles and rationalizing it from a variety of rationales (rather than from a single linear point and following that single thread of logic).

An Artificial Intelligence’s ability to tackle a problem from multiple angles humanizes them to an extent, being now able to apply the concept of independent thinking; and what do thinking ‘things’ do? Well, they learn. This kind of A.I. is currently used in ‘Smart’ energy management systems, fraud detection and self-driving cars. For example, through complex algorithms, self-driving cars must adapt to the ever-changing stimuli of traffic, sensing the distance and speed of incoming objects, enabling the automaton to change lanes without crashing.

Okay, so, to recap, robots currently don’t a) Travel through time, b) have any plans to save the world from a dystopian future, and c) look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Regardless, they are playing perhaps the most crucial role in redefining and replacing all of our preconceived notions about what a ‘Machine’ is.

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