How long has it been around?
In recent years, the prevalence of artificial intelligence in our daily life has increased dramatically. We are now seeing such technology in our phones, in cybersecurity, and even in cars. But where did it all start for AI and what is its future? Well, here are some interesting facts you might not know about artificial intelligence.
1. AI was first conceptualized in the 1600s
While the ancient Greeks wrote about “intelligent robots” in religious mythology, artificial intelligence was first conceptualized by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a German mathematician and philosopher, at the end of the 17th century.
When Leibniz was only 20 years old, he came up with a theory that could be used to allow a machine to automatically generate ideas. He basically theorized that human thoughts, in whatever capacity, are all quantifiable and all boil down to a fine mix of fundamental concepts. Therefore, Leibniz suggested that this combination could be replicated to give a machine the ability to do the same.
Leibniz named this theoretical mechanism “the great instrument of reason” and theorized that it would be able to answer any questions put to it. However, this idea of a thinking machine has come under intense scrutiny. Many believed that human thought was a more spiritual or non-repeatable form of expression rather than something that was science.
As you may have guessed, this “great instrument of reason” has never been successfully created, and we have yet to see a machine capable of answering all possible questions. There is still time for that, right?
2. The term “artificial intelligence” was coined in 1956
While the concepts surrounding artificial intelligence have been discussed for centuries, the term itself was not officially coined until 1956, during a conference at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. At this conference, the field of AI was officially born, along with the creation of the term.
At this conference, Allen Newell, Cliff Shaw and Herbert Simon presented to the audience their Logic Theorist program, designed to replicate the thinking and problem-solving processes present in the human mind.
After being introduced to the Logic Theorist program, Marvin Minsky, a cognitive scientist at MIT, and several other leading researchers and scientists spoke about their confidence in the technology. Alan Turing, a British mathematician, also wrote an article on artificial intelligence in the 1950s and discussed the construction of independently thinking machines and the testing of their intelligence.
3. AI can be found everywhere today
While we don’t yet see omniscient machines or robots that act like humans, AI is certainly developed and improved every year, and it’s already being used in different ways across multiple industries.
First of all, take a look at your smartphone! AI is used in your voice assistant, be it Siri, Bixby, Cortana, or Alexa. These virtual assistants use AI to understand your voice and make decisions based on what you ask or ask. Your phone’s facial recognition feature also uses AI, as well as object recognition programs (such as the one offered by Samsung’s Bixby Vision).
You can also find the presence of artificial intelligence in cars! Famous electric car maker Tesla uses AI in its autopilot function, allowing its cars to see the stretches of road ahead and make decisions based on what the system picks up. Tesla also recently unveiled its new Tesla Bot, which relies on AI to run. This machine is designed to perform mundane and uninteresting tasks that humans usually have no interest in. Who knows, this robot could one day fold your laundry!
4. AI is not perfect, far from it
While scientists and engineers are certainly making great strides in AI, the technology has yet to reach its peak. We haven’t yet developed a machine that can think like a human, and we’re certainly a long way from creating the kind of AI-powered robots you see in sci-fi movies.
Machine learning is a key part of AI. This term is pretty self-explanatory, but it involves machine learning, building knowledge and experiences, and adapting to situations. The gaps observed in this area essentially define the limits of what artificial intelligence can do.
So what can’t AI do yet?
First, AI still can’t handle situations the same way humans do, because AI doesn’t have what is called “common sense.” This greatly limits the types of tasks AI can perform and the types of concepts it can understand. AI is still not good at adapting at the last minute. Or, in other words, AI can’t improvise very well. It also has a negative effect on the quality at which it can work.
Another attribute (most) of humans that AI does not have is the ability to be ethical. AI doesn’t have its own core values or morals, so it can’t make decisions based on welfare or the common good. All of these factors combined make AI pretty rudimentary compared to humans.
However, AI does have a future, and a pretty exciting future. But it will involve the intelligence and increasing capabilities of a machine. And, if you’re a fan of sci-fi movies, you’ll know there’s a chance it could go wrong.
5. People are afraid of AI
Humans are the smartest beings on the planet right now, and it’s probably safe to say that we like them that way. But if AI continues to progress at the rate it currently is, we could be faced with someone as smart, or much smarter, than us over the next few decades. In other words, we will achieve “singularity”.
So why is this a concern? Well, as you might expect, a machine that can operate at a higher speed or level of intelligence than us could turn out to be a huge threat to humanity as a whole. And there are a large number of people who fear this possibility.
It was found in a Statista 2019 survey that 46% of Americans believe that achieving the singularity will lead to negative or ending the world consequences. Out of all survey participants, only 27% believed it would have a positive outcome for humanity. The situation is similar in the UK, with 60% of people fearful of AI.
Considering how many people still fear the possible outcomes of high-level AI, it’s clear that reaching the singularity will create divisions within society, which in itself could be a huge problem. However, for now, the AI is still having a hard time figuring out what you are saying, so don’t worry too much.
The possibilities of AI are endless, whether it’s exciting or scary
While opinions on AI differ from person to person, the continued progression of AI will certainly give way to incredibly advanced technology. Smart robots, self-driving cars, there is no end to what AI could offer us in the years to come. While it can be a little intimidating, we are certainly excited to see it!
Want to realize the true power of what’s possible with AI? Check out these five sites for the mind-boggling things it can create.
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