Essay On The Future Of Artificial Intelligence
Self-driving automobiles and self-aware robots have long seemed the province of the imaginations of writers like Isaac Asimov and movies such as Demolition Man. However, each year moves us closer to a world in which cars actually do drive themselves, machines can assess people and even comprehend their emotions, and humanoid robots can even travel around without a human attendant, taking care of everything from assembling cars in a factory to rescuing people from emergency situations. One of the key elements in this process is computer vision, which is a key step for the coming generation of robotic, computing and artificial intelligence systems (Gross 2014). One reason why machines have not yet been freed to move independently around is that they cannot identify objects and interact appropriately with their environments. Once robots become fully mobile, their capacity for extending the scope of human efforts or even replacing humans in crucial areas will be significantly larger.
Test cases of cars that drive themselves, robots that perform tasks in factories and so-called “ag-robots” that perform tasks on farms are showing what machines with widening ranges of mobility can do. The swift growth of computer vision is at the top of a list of quite a few technologies centered around artificial intelligence. Other items on this list include skillful navigation, manipulation and speech recognition. These technologies highlight a significant shift that moves the computer beyond word processing, spreadsheets and the Internet, three of the technologies that have set the tone for the past thirty years inside the computing realm (Markoff 2013).
There is a cartoon starring Daffy Duck as a sales representative for the home of the future. He installs a control panel in Elmer Fudd’s home with buttons that perform just about every task imaginable, including cooking meals, bringing him his robe and pipe after a day at work and sending a robot with a bucket of water to put out fires. Of course, each time Elmer pushes a button, something else bad happens to him. The automatically lit cigar, for example, triggers the robot carrying the bucket, causing Daffy to remark that the system merely needs “some calibration.” The “home elevator” really brings the second floor crashing down on top of the first, as this cartoon parodies the dreams that people had in the years after World War II of unbridled automation (Design for leaving). Many of these technologies appear to be on the brink of actual release, though, as cars and homes are about to become a lot smarter with the addition of technology. The use of inexpensive sensors is collecting a monumental amount of data, and this data is an important factor in shifting the way that computing works. The advent of the cloud allows the centralization of data – as well as the universalization of access. The end result is that artificial technologies such as machine-learning can be used to distribute computer intelligence far beyond the reach of the traditional desktop machine.
The first company to pioneer the idea of having computer capability everywhere was Apple. Their idea involved placing powerful microprocessor computer chips in mundane objects. The end result was such innovations as the iPod, followed closely by the iPhone. The same idea for innovation is moving into other consumer products as well. Consider the Tesla, which is both a car and a computer. However, the self-driving car is just one in a long series of other artificial intelligence steps. Two years ago, the artificial intelligence program Watson defeated two of the best “Jeopardy” players in the world. Watson can access 200 million pages of information and can understand and answer questions delivered in natural language (Markoff 2013). The initial plan for Watson was to serve as a medical adviser to physicians. The thorough knowledge that Watson had about medical conditions could provide assistance with diagnosis and contribute expertise in other areas of medicine as well. This expanded into the Watson Engagement Advisor, opening up the question-answer system to a huge range of applications in call centers, technical support and telephone sales. IBM, who made Watson, noted that as many as two-thirds of all support calls fail because the humans answering the phones can’t give the right information or all of the information. Watson will assist human operators but can also be used as a self-service station, allowing customers to interact directly with it via a Web browser or through a speech recognition software package.
In December 2015, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa (the advanced research division of the Pentagon) will hold the first of two parts in a $2 million contest to design a robot that could substitute for rescue workers in a hazardous situation, such as the damaged nuclear plant in Japan. Rethink Robots and Universal Robots are two private-sector companies already selling two-armed robots to work in factories. These do not have legs or wheels, but they are also the first robots for sale that do not necessitate cages, because they can see and feel humans around them to avoid hurting them. Hoaloha Robitcs is planning to design robots for elder care that could help more seniors live independently. The future is coming, even more quickly than we think, and the outcome may not be as dire as Ray Bradbury predicted.
Demolition Man. (1993). Dir. Marco Brambilla. Perf. Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Sandra
Bullock. Warner Brothers.
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October 2014. http://www.pcworld.com/article/2692352/the-future-of-artificial- intelligence-will-computers-take-your-job.html
I, Robot. (2004). Dir. Alex Proyas. Perf. Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Bruce Greenwood.
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October 2014. http://www.wired.com/2014/10/future-of-artificial-intelligence/
Markoff, J. (2013). The rapid advance of artificial intelligence. New York Times 14 October 2013.