Why Artificial Intelligence is Much More Than Sci-fi

60 years since the Dartmouth Conference, artificial intelligence has been growing nimbly, but the underlying implication to the quest – whether artificial Intelligence would be labyrinthine to the functionality of human lives or would it rectify it – will always be of solicitude.

As the race to monetise artificial intelligence begins, big names such as IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, are releasing magnificent technologies that are bound to capture the attention of developers and customers alike. According to a recent report named “Global Artificial Intelligence Market Analysis & trends – Industry Forecast by 2025”, the artificial intelligence market worldwide will reach a value of $23.4 billion by 2025. With the anticipated potential of the world market, it could be definite to say that there will be a spurt in technological development.

Country-wise dedicated approach is also seen after the realisation of the potential growth in this sector. China has already concocted to extend its artificial intelligence product market to over 100 billion yuan ($15.26 billion), according to a statement released under National Development and Reform Commission, China.

Monetisation is helping AI boom like never before…

Scientists and engineers are targeting the human interaction based AI systems that we are already using in the contemporary period – Siri, Google Now and Cortana. The most popular one out of them, Siri, might soon get a substitute or a replacement by a semi-device entity or a virtual system that will help increase precision in its responses and will have a cognitive approach in understanding our day to day problems.

Well, it may seem like a benign replacement of smartphones or their ‘smartness’. From the initial transition of existing AI systems like Siri, hot-shots of the dedicated sector are trying to fade away the very concept of a ‘device’. As Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, in his annual founder’s letter writes, “Over time, the computer itself – whatever its form factor – will be an intelligent assistant helping you though your day. We will move from mobile first to an AI first world.”

The dependency on phone has also increased due to the offered convenience we have just by a touch, from buying groceries to having virtual meetings. Smartphones have undoubtedly changed the course of life. The cell phone has taken a form of assistance which is the next big strata targeted by the big tech companies. Creators of Siri are currently working on a tool called Viv, which has a ‘dynamic program generation’ technology where Viv is able to turn sounds into words and find the ‘intent’ of the ‘natural language’ in which the user speaks; this technology is known as Nuance.

Sounds cool? Right. But last year Apple acquired the British intelligent assistant developer, VocalIQ, a tool similar to Viv but stands-out on the part to remember the context properly, which helps it to give precise response.

It’s not just Apple, recently IBM in conjunction with the Weather Company has announced the launch of Watson Ads which will utilise A.I. to create interactive personalised advertisements and cognitive computing.

Domenic Venuto, GM (Consumer Products) of The Weather Company, as quoted on, said, “The dawn of cognitive advertising is truly a watershed moment.” He also added, “Now as part of IBM, we have even more tools and technologies at our disposal to inspire innovations within advertising, artificial intelligence and storytelling. This is a huge opportunity to expose consumers to all of the surprising and delightful experiences that Watson has in store for them – and to make advertising a truly valuable interaction.”

Simplifying in real time situation – think when you want to eat outside, and Watson would suggest you the ingredients and flavours while considering the weather, time of the day and location, using dynamic ads as the medium.

AI will be everywhere – in your wallets, accounts and banks.

Looking at the level of assistance and the ease offered by this futuristic innovation, banks are starting to consider artificial intelligence for transactions, security and assistance. For instance, in India where it gets so difficult for a new user to open up a bank account, AI could help in providing assistance to the upcoming users. It will reap the banking sector functions, for instance, helping with transactions, giving a simple understanding of the functioning of a bank, and helping out with general troubles at ATMs etc. Banks like DBS have already started experimenting with AI for virtual assistance via text and speech to respond to user queries.

Days of artificial intelligence aligned with cognitive system are not too far away. Soon banking will be more efficient by incorporating personal assistance through AI, which will help observe content and behaviour, build and maintain data models from which it will draw information about people, consent and context, predict user needs and act autonomously on the user’s behalf.

Is AI all about its benign service to humanity or can it turn malevolent?

Whatever be the function of AI, the technology has become pervasive. From programming language to dog translator, we are looking in every corner to fit artificial intelligence inside it. Although, many still remain sceptical about its future. According to the doyens of technology – Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Bill Gates – it is crucial to manage research as the open letter on artificial intelligence states, researchers must not create something which can’t be controlled.

Due to the ongoing rapid advancement in the AI sector, it is not hard to think that AI might someday in the future feel rancorous and may exert their existence over humanity. This debate has been picking heat after the release of films like Terminator.

Computer scientists have begun to analyse the inadvertent consequences of cynically designed AI systems that have an edge over humanity but lack a balance of ethics. Some of the advancement concerns are usage of closed source software and algorithms, as most of the software are not free, and due to the lack of open-source, they can be formatted, putting centric powers under the scrutiny of developers or the AI itself. The concern of infestation with malicious software, like Trojans and viruses, could pose a serious threat to regular functioning of AI.

Imagine if an AI is hacked into or is under the functioning of Trojans when it’s managing transactions worth lacs at a particular time. It would result in an utter fiasco. Due to aloft concerns, researchers are continuously engaged in understanding the robot as if it were a human. Recently, German researchers have performed an experiment to teach robots how to feel and react to pain, which will help robots to be more reactive when it comes to sensation. Researcher Joannes Kuehn told Spectrum IEEE, “Pain is a system that protects us” and “When we evade from the source of pain, it helps us not get hurt.”

The potential of AI to overtake humanity is so high that Google is already building the ‘kill-switch’ to AI system. The recent paper developed by Google’s DeepMind team highlights the significance of that ‘red button’ that will rectify the possible malevolent actions of robots. Researchers say, “Safe interruptibility can be useful to take control of a robot that is misbehaving and may lead to irreversible consequences, or to take it out of a delicate situation, or even to temporarily use it to achieve a task it did not learn to perform or would not normally receive rewards for this.”

Humanity creating an AI as an absolute replica of itself may be of benevolent purpose, but the pace at which technology is developing needs an understanding of the direction to which it is headed. That’s why researchers are preparing for the worst. Every human differs in nature, so will the machines.

Alexander Reben, a Berkley artist and robot expert, has created a bijou robot which has an inherent intention to hurt people. In an article on, Reben says, “I wanted to make a robot that does this that actually exists…That was important to, to take it out of the thought experiment realm into reality, because once something exists in the world, you have to confront it. It becomes more urgent. You can’t just pontificate about it.”

Reben’s work highlights the need to have a better understanding of the futuristic technologies which are coming up steadily. And the concerns of experts like Musk seem imminent, but as long as AI helps us with our daily activities – make us look sluggish and advance at the same time – nobody would care that the dependency may turn out to be pernicious ahead.

Written by Kanishk Karan.
Photo : Wikipedia Commons


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