We are in an era of fourth industrial revolution with rapid advancement of Artificial Intelligence from personal assistants to autonomous vehicles. Today’s AI is more of narrow AI meant to perform specific tasks, and there is a transition towards strong AI for cognitive tasks that require an ability at par with humans. Final phase would be achieving super intelligence which is expected to surpass human intelligence in all the areas. Does this mean AI will replace humans or can they collaborate for betterment of the society?
In 1950, British mathematician Alan Turing, spoke about machines that think for the first time. The word “Artificial Intelligence” was introduced to the world by John McCarthy, an American scientist in 1956. World chess champion Gary Kasparov was defeated by IBM DeepBlue in 1997, this was one of the greatest achievements of AI. Though researchers and scientists have worked on AI earlier, AI has gained more popularity only in the recent years due to the increase in data volume, high computing power and cheaper storage.
We are using AI in one or the other form, be it smart phones or vaccum cleaners. AI is revolutionizing many industries like healthcare, finance, retail, supply chain, transportation, etc.
Chatbots are being used for customer service, ordering products, product recommendations and more.
Personal assistants like Apple iPhone’s Siri, Google assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Alexa can respond to voice commands and perform tasks like search, scheduling meetings, reminders, etc.
Pepper, humanoid robots are used in Softbank mobile stores in Japan as customer representatives. They are also adopted as companions as they respond to human emotions and communicate with body movements and voice.
IBM Watson, a question answering system, is used in healthcare for cancer analysis and also in financial, retail industries.
Machine learning algorithms are used in Supply Chain to analyze demand across geography, season for better planning of inventory, logistics, etc.
AI will bring more smarter machines to make our lives easier and better. Once luxury, Mobile Phones have become important part of our life. And, AI becoming part of our daily lives is not too far.
Autonomous cars will be on the roads in the very near future. Though lot of manufacturers are working on it there are concerns on safety and regulations.
Amazon prime air is working on fast delivery through drones which can respond to human gestures.
Amazon go app enables customers to shop by picking the product without going to the cashier.
Domino’s is working on autonomous vehicles for pizza delivery which can take the order to the customer.
While there are people starving for food, there is tremendous amount of food waste across globe, and AI can help minimize the food waste by analyzing historic data and demand.
Home appliance manufacturers are working on AI based appliances. Smart ovens will cook the food by the time we go back home.
Smart robots could be used for elderly care in place of sending the aged to old age homes.
AI can help in disaster events in finding stranded survivors. AI can process large amount of data, images and help in finding missing people.
AI will definitely make some jobs obsolete. Repetitive, mundane tasks will be taken over and at the same time will bring newer opportunities. Companies should ensure new jobs are created for the employees, and reskill them for innovative jobs. Did the ATM take away banking jobs? Banking has become so easy compared to standing in long queues for getting money.
Eminent scientist, Stephen Hawking warned that development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of human race. Elon Musk, chief executive of SpaceX fears AI could be our biggest threat.
AI in the hands of wrong people and wrong applications of AI can be a threat. It’s similar to questioning whether nuclear energy is threat to humanity? AI driven weapons could be as dangerous as nuclear weapons. There is definitely a need for proper government regulations around AI.
We can embrace the AI revolution with open mind. Technology replaces less creative jobs and opens up doors for innovation. We can use AI for betterment of our personal, professional lives and society.