Industry News Details

Is AI Our Final Invention? Posted on : May 26 - 2020

The future of artificial intelligence can be either exciting or worrisome depending on who you talk to. Some believe that AI may take over humanity, while others believe that we’re far away from AI achieving anything close to human intelligence. One author recently wrote a book addressing the potentially apocalyptic perspective of AI. James Barrat, author of Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era shared insights into his book on a recent AI Today podcast. Despite the title of the book, he is surprisingly more on the fence about it than his book title would imply.

AI is becoming an increasing part of our daily lives. From intelligent assistants to facial recognition, AI technology is starting to permeate all sorts of our personal interactions. Though we might have achieved the grand visions of a singular intelligence system capable of learning any task, so-called Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), we are increasingly living in a world where the everyday person uses AI on a daily basis. With this sudden boost in AI usage, people are beginning to question just how safe this technology actually is. In many instances, AI and machine learning  have the potential to provide significant benefit. However, we have reason to be concerned for AI systems that go wrong.

Where society stands on AI

In his book, James Barrat interviewed a variety of experts from various technology fields including AI researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky and noted technology futurist Ray Kurzweil. His sources included a wide list of big names, and what’s most notable is that each of them had something incredibly different to say about AI technology and what a future with AI might look like. For example, one of the experts interviewed believes that true human-level AI technology (AGI) will be introduced sometime around 2030. Since the book was written in 2013, and as we now enter the 2020s, it might be exciting to think we’re on the cusp of AGI. However, there is really no way of knowing when we will get to AGI or what it will look like.

Barrat speaks heavily about the notion of “grand innovations”. From his perspective, the right innovation can lead us to have a more comprehensive understanding of AI. The reality is that, just like with any technology, we are a mere breakthrough away from some very serious changes to the way we currently operate. The more that gets invested in AI and the more effort from major corporations, governments, and research institutions that we have working on the challenge of AI, the more likely it is that we will see this large boost that will lead us to the future of artificial intelligence.

The result is that AI is finding many more applications now than it has in the past. This means that we might be very close to needing to find ways to regulate the use and application of AI.  The problem with artificial intelligence is that there is simply no real way to control just exactly how the technology will be adopted and applied. Barrat believes that artificial intelligence could help us to solve some truly amazing problems. He stresses the idea that we might be able to find solutions to problems that are currently plaguing us in a way that could truly change the outcome of the planet. The use of AI might be able to bring us to a world where we can address issues of climate change or create better medicine. It is a tool that has the ability to do a lot of good depending on who is wielding it and how it is used. View More