AI- The Road to Superintelligence

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The term “human intelligence” consists of our ability to learn, reason, problem solve, perceive and understand language. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is something that aims at human level intelligence, with machines gradually taking over and becoming an essential part of our daily lives. One of our primary sources of entertainment these days is Netflix, which provides us accurate predictive suggestions about what we like to watch, mainly by tracking our reactions to previous films or TV shows. When it comes to finding our favourite songs, asking for directions, or updating our calendars, we tend to rely on Apple’s personal assistant, Siri. Then there’s Tesla, one of the best cars ever made. It’s human like features, such as self-driving, and predictive capabilities is slowly diminishing our ability to drive without help. The list goes on, and so does our need for another hand.

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Apple, Deepmind, Amazon, Google and Facebook are just a few companies leading the Artificial Intelligence Revolution. We are all familiar with the fact that Google is the largest search engine in the world, Amazon’s AI services bring natural language understanding and of course, as mentioned earlier, Apple’s Siri. These technologies are able to provide digital assistance, decrease repetitive jobs, reduce error and work consistently. One thing we are less aware of, however, is the fact that AI is becoming popular in medicine. This is seen with the IBM Watson, which is a “customized computer designed to deliver a single, precise answer to a question posed in natural language.”   Recently, it has been used for rapid diagnosis of rare leukemia. Writer mentions that so far, hospitals in Japan have used this computer system for about 100 patients with hamartiological diseases and Watson has helped find causes of illnesses for 70 to 80 of them (Writer, 2016).

Our top worry is that superintelligence is just years away, however it is said to be at least decades away (Tegmark, 2017). But is it really? Chinese researcher, Han Wang, thinks otherwise. His introduction of the idea of Artificial Synapse, could lead to smarter AI. Synapses serves as a gateway for our neurons to transmit signals, whether it’s inhibitory, which makes the brain more calm or whether it’s excitatory, which makes our brain more alert. Just as the human brain, Wang mentions that AI allows similar functions, enabling synapses to process digital information (Science, 2017). The mere idea of machines replacing humans is exciting, however, the thought of robots handling customer inquiries wouldn’t be too great. Unemployment will be booming up and machines will always lack a certain human touch, specifically emotion. We, as humans, can care and understand one another, something machines will never achieve. This also suggest a lack of innovation and creativity. Therefore, the statement that “AI will never be able to control humans” is a myth, because humans will always be smarter, however if we give up the position of being the smartest, then we will probably give up control as well.  Just as Tegmark says, intelligence aims control (Tegmark, 2017).

 

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