The term “Artificial Intelligence” has made big news in the recent past, but how many of you really understand what is AI and why AI is a big deal in today’s context?
First of all, let’s look at the basics of AI and what it is in simple terms. Artificial Intelligence in simple terms is using machines to mimic human intelligence, these machines need a huge amount of data in order to process and analyse it to find similar patterns in order to make decisions based on the data it receives. This process is called machine learning, for AI machine learning is very important as the AI systems need machine learning to take the correct decision. Machine learning works the same way as human learning, for instance if you show a picture of a train to a child and teach them its a picture of a train, then the child will be able to identify a train next time he or she sees one even though it may look different to the one in the picture. This is the same concept in machine learning and for the machines to learn, humans have to feed data into the machines to learn about specific situations. This needs to be done through a programming process using a language the machines can understand, then we need to put proper algorithms in place for telling these machines what kind of output we need.
Now let’s look at the types of AI available, Artificial Intelligence can be categorised into two main types, weak AI and strong AI (Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) ). In this, the weak AI is the most common AI we see even in our day to day life, like the virtual personal assistants like Siri, Alexa or Google assistant can be easily put into the weak AI category because these systems are designed to perform a specific task. Even the self-driven cars use the same weak AI technology in order to perform its task based on the immense amount of data it receives through a lot of sensors. But what about strong AI? where can we find it? strong AI is way more sophisticated since it’s very close to human intelligence and with the right amount of data and processing power it can mimic human intelligence to resolve problems. Some scientists like Stephen Hawking even believed if advanced AI would take off on its own then it can redesign itself to even overtake human evolution.
Although it would take some time for the AI to advance to the level where it can evolve without having a human interaction it’s important for us to look at the bright side of it. How we can make use of this technology for the better is the most significant question, well, there are so many ways we can use AI for the betterment of society. Like mentioned earlier, we are using some features of AI even now in our day to day life, asking questions from Siri, using self-driving technology with Tesla cars and even in automation. So is that all we can do with AI? certainly, it’s not there are many other benefits we can take out of AI, when it comes to business management AI can help people to take decisions which are data-driven thus more accurate, introduce smart devices that adjust based on the user’s behaviour, personalise products and services based on the customer profiles are just to name a few. If we focus on the health sector, what if an AI system can predict an epidemic situation way before it happens? what if a robot can detect a cancer-prone person way before he or she gets it? Can that be done for real? with AI technology it is possible.
While AI opens up whole new avenues in many industries it still has more ethical constraints such as personal privacy, cultural issues and even how human biases work when these machine learning algorithms work based on what data they are given in training. These are the areas which need to be handled very closely in order to make use of these technologies for the better.
All in all, AI still has a long way to go, however, it’s inevitable that we will need AI to Fastrack the evolution of humankind and take it to the next level. We need to focus on the bright side of it and the benefits we can have using AI while having a close eye out at the negative impact it can make on us.