Imagine living in a world where sentient technology outnumber their human creators. For over a decade now, people all around the globe have been diving deep into speculation about technology thought to be only possible in the realm of science fiction. One form of this technology specifically is AI, or artificial intelligence, and it has been taking the world by storm. AI technology has been in the works and heavy in development for years, and has actually come a very long way. What was once thought of as impossible, has become partial reality. Cars that drive themselves, robot assistants, automated service machines, all of these things have finally come to be, or are seemingly coming to be as we speak. What limits exist in the creation or capabilities of this technology is unknown thus far, but the world’s biggest and smartest inventors and creators don’t show any signs of halting their quest to create AI.
AI first began to be explored in the early 1950s, looking into topics such as problem solving and symbolic methods. The official term “artificial intelligence” came to be in 1956 but it took until the 1960s for the US Department of Defense to take interest in this type of work, when they began programming and training computers to mimic basic human reasoning. According to an article published to SAS, “the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) completed street mapping projects in the 1970s. And DARPA produced intelligent personal assistants in 2003, long before Siri, Alexa or Cortana were household names.” It was this early work that paved the long road for the automation and formal reasoning that we see in technology today.
Hollywood films and other works of science fiction have created this image in people’s minds of AI as human-like robots, bound to take over the world. However, modern AI is not actually all that scary – or nearly as smart yet as seen in film. Instead, AI has been currently developed to provide specific benefits in basic life as well as in industry. All AI have what are known as “learning processes,” an aspect of programming that focuses on gathering data and creating rules for how to turn that data into reusable or providable information. These rules are known as “algorithms” and they provide computing devices with step-by-step instructions on how to go about completing specific tasks.
The tasks performed by these AI are supposed to assist in day-to-day life, however many have their speculations about where it could really be leading us. For example, many American citizens are afraid that the uprising of AI in the country will lead to a decrease in job opportunity; due to AI replacing manpower. Nevertheless, AI technology is improved upon daily and scientists show no signs of stopping their quest to perfect AI. The future of AI is unknown, but we may all find more closure on the topic sooner than expected.