Intelligent Machines Are Eating The World; Do We Fear or Smile?

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A Learned World of Machines

Back in my school days, I vividly remember myself to be sitting on my sofa all the time, sipping my cold coffee flavored with choco-chips, watching my favourite sitcom and hoping for a genie to arrive, and do my homework without me to actually lifting my fingers. But, somewhere I knew, it was all imagination. And, I used to angrily drag myself to my study room to complete my homework….

Fast forward to 2016, my school days are etched in my mind as just a memory, and I am sitting in front of my computer to recognize my face and open the interface for me to work. Well, this is just the tip of the iceberg, deep under the modern tech echelons, there is greater game going on, and everyday newspapers and weblogs are stuffed in praise of this new, path-breaking technology; one would believe it as yet another hype but, if you deeply go through these tech news, you might argue — why tech giants are opening their deep pockets to acquire or attain the first movers advantage in this technology domain — it is called ‘Artificial Intelligence’.

In 2011, noted VC and Angel Investor Marc Andreessen famously said, “Software is eating the world.” How right was he, then? Artificial Intelligence is about evolving and adapting machines to make them intelligent to learn from other machines and historical data, and perform the most complex tasks which anyway would take more humans, resources and time to perform but, machines can perform them without consuming these resources and with optimal accuracy.

Artificial Intelligence is about evolving and adapting machines to make them intelligent to learn from other machines and historical data, and perform the most complex tasks which anyway would take more humans, resources and time to perform but, machines can perform them without consuming these resources and with optimal accuracy.

Wonders of Artificial Intelligence

Let us consider the most revered example here — The Driverless Cars.

In the near future, you might not see the front seat of a car with a driver, our cars would automatically run on their own, just fill in your destination through an app, your Uber arrives, doors open on their own and you are ferried to your destination safely — exaggeratedly — eliminating the risk of any accidents.

Take healthcare or medical for instance, artificial intelligence is telling doctors how to treat patients with accuracy, and which antidote or diagnosis would fit to their body taking into account their previous medical history. There is huge data at our disposal, artificial intelligence parses through this unstructured and often huge chunks of data and brings insights which help doctors in taking better and data driven decisions.

Unicorns like Amazon, Walmarts and Target are harnessing the powers of artificial intelligence and machine learning to show us most relevant products based on our interests and needs at the a particular instance or time, when we are most likely to buy them, which would end up making more sales for them.

Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Google are busy shopping artificial intelligence start-ups and companies to further enhance their — face, image and expression recognition capabilities to engage with their users to open more avenue of revenue growth and engagement allowing their users to transport them to a new La La Land of opportunities.

And the list goes on….

Limitations and Fears

Amid all this excitement and euphoria surrounding the possibilities this technology holds for us, there are few bumps in the road ahead. Recently, photos app at Google I/O, an image recognition software recognized two black African-Americans as “Gorillas”, which brought bad PR for the search giant, which also signals that there is still a long way for artificial intelligence to become mature and useful.

New fears have gripped people in the recent times, about the future of work; people are afraid that their jobs will be eaten by the machines. In the future, do we need writers, doctors, lawyers, workers, etc. anymore? My guess is as good as yours. But, it will be interesting to witness where artificial intelligence takes us, and what new avenues it opens for us?

More interestingly, what humans would do with the available time at their disposal developed by artificial intelligence?

In my story, talked in the first few lines, I so dearly wish for artificial intelligence to be there for me to do my homework. Never thought this imaginary genie would one day become a reality!