Tech Trends - The Future of AI
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If you’re interested in advanced technology, there are plenty of things to be excited about. Virtual reality gaming, eco-friendly electric vehicles, the bold vision of the metaverse—all of these will change our daily lives.
Another great example is artificial intelligence. Between phones, smart home devices, and voice assistants, you likely already use AI on a daily basis. But the future of AI promises to be truly revolutionary.
What is AI?
Broadly, the definition of artificial intelligence refers to machines (mainly computer systems) that demonstrate intelligence. These machines perform tasks that typically require human intelligence. Additionally, they can also learn and use that knowledge to improve their functionality or efficiency.
While the famous Turing test refers to a machine’s ability to imitate human intelligence and behavior, modern definitions of AI tend to be broader. Most importantly, AI does not need to be designed to imitate or act like a human being. A machine does not need to have a “mind” to be a true AI.
What are the types of AI?
To categorize AI, we use a system based on how similar an AI is to the human mind. There are four types: reactive machines, limited memory, theory of mind, and self-aware AI.
Reactive machines are the oldest and most basic type of AI. They cannot learn, they don’t have memory—all they can do is perceive an environment and react to it. The IBM supercomputer Deep Blue, which beat grandmaster Garry Kasparov in a game of chess, is a good example.
Limited memory machines combine the ability to react with the ability to learn from past data and make decisions. Most AI technologies in use today, such as self-driving cars, come under this definition.
Theory of Mind
Theory of mind AI is the next step up. This is AI that can react to humans while taking into account our needs, emotions, thought processes, and more. They need to understand that human beings are not rational and that multiple factors go into what we might need or want. While there has been some development in this area (like artificial emotional intelligence), this is still mostly theoretical.
Self-aware AI is, more or less, AI that is so developed it is indistinguishable from the human mind. It is self-aware and has needs, emotions, and even desires of its own. Unlike the other three types, self-aware AI is purely hypothetical. We are, at best, decades away from seeing anything like it.
Artificial Intelligence Examples
AI is an incredibly broad field. Between current AI tech and more advanced systems in development, there are too many to list in one article. That said, here are some of the major AI technologies that most people will interact with.
Natural language processing
Natural language processing is a field of AI technology that covers machine reading comprehension. It’s a very important part of applications like chatbots and voice assistants. For example, Alexa uses NLP to translate what you said into commands it can execute.
Though they seem fairly simple, recommender systems are incredibly important to huge brands like Netflix and YouTube. Essentially, they use AI to predict if a user might like something. They use that information to recommend things (like a show or video). Technology as we know it today would not be the same without them.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. You probably use a search engine like Google, Wikipedia, or Bing every single day. Their ability to find and index content based on user inquiries is one of the oldest, and most important, examples of AI technology.
Games and AI have been intertwined since the 1950s. AI powers everything from the enemies you fight in Call of Duty or Halo to advanced poker bots that play at a superhuman level.
Thanks to Tesla and its indefatigable CEO Elon Musk, self-driving cars are one of the most talked-about segments of AI technology. Although development and regulation remain a hurdle, it’s possible to buy cars with self-driving capabilities from Nissan, Tesla, Ford, and General Motors.
How Artificial Intelligence will change the future
The future of AI can be roughly divided into two categories. First, there are existing technologies that will be improved and perfected. Second, there is brand-new artificial intelligence software and technology.
Artificial Intelligence in cars
Self-driving cars are a great example of the first category. Self-driving cars are categorized into 6 levels, with each level corresponding to how much interaction and attention is needed from the driver. They go from 0 (a car that can issue warnings and momentarily take control) to 6 (“steering-wheel optional” cars that can drive anywhere in the world with no restrictions or human interaction).
Currently, every car available in the US is at level 2, the “hands-off” level. Level 3 (“eyes off”) technology exists (and is even sold by Honda in Japan), but is currently barred by technical hurdles or regulation in the States. That will likely change in the near future. Expect to see level 4 or even level 5 cars in the next few decades.
How artificial intelligence can help humans
Expect AI to get better at understanding humans. Right now, AI is limited by its lack of emotional intelligence. Advances in artificial emotional intelligence will change that. If it’s perfected, it’ll have a profound impact on technology. For example, based on your mood, Netflix could recommend shows and a self-driving car could adjust speed or driving styles.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Robots are also a big part of the future. Current examples, like the humanoid Sophia, already make use of AI technology like text-to-speech to talk and speech recognition to hear and listen. Advances in artificial emotional intelligence, machine learning, and other AI technologies could allow her to act as a nursing home companion.
Google Go-playing AlphaGo bot is a good example of reinforcement learning, which allows a machine to learn via reward and punishment rather than just data. General adversarial networks, a form of machine learning that allows computers to be creative, have already changed the modern art world. The possibilities are endless.
From artificial intelligence in healthcare and education to machine learning and smart homes, AI will change the way we interact with the world. In many ways, it already has. Sit back, have a chat with Siri, and enjoy the ride.
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