July 24, 2017

AI: A luxury or a must-have? That is the real question

The human brain is designed in a very intricate way. A way that makes it the most powerful “machine” on earth.

It is so powerful that it has used all sorts and forms of intelligence it has to make the world as we know it today. 

We went from nomads cruising the deserts, living in forests, and hiding in caves, to sophisticated human beings flying across the globe and walking on non-habitable planets. It is only fair to say that the human brain has evolved so fast to become one of our most precious organs. Yet, scientist still found the need to create another sort of intelligence for more luxury.

One that is very much similar to our brains, but also more advanced, and even more performant.

So the question remains: Do we really need artificial intelligence or is it just a luxury?

[Related]: Artificial Intelligence is the new trend. But, what’s the hype all about?

There are so many ways in which we can begin to tackle this question. But just like any other debatable issue, the key is perception.

First of all, there is a huge misconception regarding this term. AI. AI is not how Hollywood tries to picture it: robots becoming smarter than humans and taking over the world, driving us towards our doom. It’s nothing of the sort. At least for the time being. When people talk about AI breakthroughs, they generally refer to a popular field of technology which is Machine Learning. Machine Learning is the literal description of a program that learns and adapts accordingly. The new-found technology here is the neural network (NN). It imitates the pattern recognition abilities of the human brain by processing thousands and millions of data points. Pattern recognition is pivotal in terms of intelligence.

Some people think that yes, artificial intelligence is a very much needed luxury, today more than ever. In the face of the huge flow of data and information, our brains can only handle so much. As powerful as it is, the human brain can store millions of information per second but can only remember 7 to 9 things at a time! That’s why scientists were wondering if we could keep the brain’s storage capacity but work more on the remembering aspect. Thus, they saw the urgent need for a machine that mimics the brain but also lives up to its fullest potential.

By contrast, others believe that we as humans are very much capable of handling this flood of data.They have their own concerns about this new form of technology. In fact, they believe that it is ethically wrong to give too much power and control to machines. A good example of a dilemma facing the experts is self-driving cars. If we program all the cars to drive perfectly, detecting all the hazards and predicting accidents in order to avoid them, how would they behave in case of a technical error?

The situation is: two cars and a motorcycle surround the car in question. The car in the front suddenly stops working and the computer now has 2 choices to avoid a collision. The car goes right (where the motorcycle is) or goes left (hit the other car). The computer will have to either choose to protect its rider’s life and collide with the motorcycle for minimal damage. Or it will have to put other people’s lives in the equation and collide with the car, a better-built vehicle than the motorcycle. Either way, the computer is responsible for the life or death of the people involved. So how do you program a computer to choose which life matters more? That is the real question. (Learn More)

As scientists are still debating this matter, many think that we are still far from achieving such high performing devices. So we were wondering, what is YOUR take on this? Are you more on the pro-AI or AI-with-lots-of-caution side? Let us know what you think of this whole dilemma.