Posted by Don Larkin on August 24, 2016
Artificial intelligence (also known as Machine Learning) is a type of intellect that is found in certain machines. It means that machine can learn how to perform a prescribed task more efficiently by way of instruction and repetitive experience. Today, the average computer is approximately as intelligent as a mentally handicapped insect. By the year 2035, many experts predict that the most advanced computers will be as smart as all human beings combined. 10 years beyond that, Ray Kurzweil has posited that computers will be smarter than all human beings put together.
For hundreds of years, technology has been used to relieve human beings of the rigors of physical labor. In the past century, these advancements have ventured into the realm of enhancing human intellect with great effect. From the advent of the calculator to the widespread use of online search engines to learn new information, many technological enhancements to our brainpower are implemented into our daily lives. The integration of these technologies is so seamless that they have become an extension of ourselves. You would be hard pressed to find most smartphone owners without their device or, in the very least, accurate knowledge of where their smartphone device is located.
Though Artificial Intelligence is in its’ infancy (most experts say that it has not even reached the infany stage yet), it has already accomplished some remarkable feats. There are AI machines that independently perform hundreds of millions of trades in as little as one month in the world financial markets. They make decisions on what to do with money every millisecond. This is the type of decision-making performance that a human being could never compete with.
The future of transportation, education, medicine, agriculture, entertainment and a whole host of things yet to be imagined will be heavily influenced by AI.
The future of transportation is driver-less vehicles. As a matter of fact; Travis Kalanick, the CEO and founder of Uber, has already announced that their goal is to make private car ownership a thing of the past by the year 2040. In the next few weeks they will be rolling out a pilot program for a driverless car fleet in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. These cars will be on the road and taking passengers to their destinations without anyone in the driver’s seat.
Tractor trailers and locomotives will see their human navigation personnel replaced by AI machines, too. The truck driving industry in the United States is currently in need of hundreds of thousands of drivers. As a result, this industry is looking toward driverless vehicles as a permanent solution to their constant lack of driving staff.
Drones have risen to prominence due to their use in military engagements around the world. At present, drones are remotely controlled by human pilots. In the future, the pilots are expected to be computers. Whether or not the flying public will be trusting enough to ride on an airplane piloted exclusively by a computer remains to be seen. However, pilots currently utilize the on-flight autopilot regularly. The idea of a computer controlled flight became reality decades ago. It is not much of a stretch to imagine a computer controlling the entire flight.
AI is predicted to radically transform education. It could potentially take over tedious tasks such as grading from teachers. Early stage AI has already changed education in fundamental ways. Search Engines have revolutionized the way that students research information. Learning can take place anywhere at any time. So long as the learner has access to the internet.
AI will take on tutoring duties. Due to the fact that mental fatigue will not be a factor for an AI tutor, vast numbers of students will be able to benefit from their own individual tutoring program. Over time, AI software will learn the individual strengths and weaknesses of its’ students and will tailor the teaching technique for that respective student accordingly.
There will surely be some resistance to the usage of AI in education. The boundaries between human educators, virtual educators and students will have to be established as the technology continues its’ increased involvement in the field of teaching.
Almost all advancements in the medical field are predicted to come as a result of AI machines. Today, clinical trials are time consuming and require the participation of thousands of people. Even then, very few drugs successfully meet the rigorous demands required for entrance into the marketplace. An AI machine could conceivably perform experiments with countless combinations of chemicals on a virtual human being in order to find the correct medications needed to treat or cure an ailment.
Current day video games allow users to immerse themselves in the digital world. Artificial Intelligence will take these games to an entirely new level. Virtual Reality technologies are finally living up to the promise that they showed a quarter of a century ago. People will actually be able to live in a virtual world for the majority of their time (assuming that they have the resources to support this way of life). If they want to tune out of reality, a virtual world will be ready to receive them at any time.
Much of the music and film of the future will be generated by computers. By studying human reactions to this type of media, computers will be able to provide entertainment that is tailor made to fit a target audience.
In 2013, news came from Israel that an Israeli company called Aerodentis had invented electric dental braces. The braces would allow as much as 3 months between orthodontic visits. They would be programmed by the orthodontist to move while the patient slept. They theorized that these incremental movements would be safer than the constant pressure placed on teeth by contemporary orthodontic devices.
The progress of the treatment is monitored by a control unit. The information provided to the unit is supplied by a smart card that is placed within the orthodontic device. When the patient goes to his or her orthodontic appointments, the orthodontist removes the smart card and analyzes the treatment history since the patient’s last visit. With this information in hand, the orthodontist programs the next cycle of treatments for the orthodontic patient. This sequence of events repeats itself until the orthodontic treatment is complete.
This process is only one step removed from Artificial Intelligence. The only difference is that instead of an orthodontist programming the next step in treatment, a computer would run a full diagnostic test and decide on the best course of action after analyzing the smart card.
Artificial Intelligence shows great promise for enhancing the quality of our lives. It also poses serious challenges to the way that we will work and provide for ourselves in the future. If the pioneers of this process continue to innovate AI technologies for the sake of all humankind, we can look forward to a future of untold wonders.