“Everything we love about civilization is a product of intelligence, so amplifying our human intelligence with artificial intelligence has the potential of helping a civilization flourish like never before – as long as we manage to keep the technology beneficial.” - Max Tegmark, President of the Future of Life Institute
The first time I read the term Artificial Intelligence and pondered its implications I kept thinking about how it was intelligence and not humanity. So no, my dear excited past version of me, they are not making mechanical humans or robot humans. These robots can’t think. They can store information, sure. Make decisions based on the given conditions have a logical conversation and much more. Basically, upcoming AI, also known as AGI or General AI, is expected to outperform humans in cognitive tasks.
But they are still not robot-humans. Because no one can create humans. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Today AI can talk to you and you will feel as if you are talking to another person. That is because the AI has been programmed to be a chatbot. There initially was a human who thought out what another human might need to hear or think. But still, isn’t it amazing what a non-sentient machine can do?
There’s a flip side to the coin. AI is a thorn in the side for many people who lose their jobs. No matter if it was monotonous or sub-standard, it was paying the bills.
“They are replacing us with robots!”, they say.
Every time I come across such protests, I remember a plot twist in the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie. At the beginning of the movie, Charlie's father, Mr. Bucket, had a job screwing the cap onto tubes toothpaste but one not-so-fine day, he was fired. Machines took his place, screwing caps on tubes toothpaste faster and for longer periods then he was. That was the start of financial troubles for an already poor family of 7.
“That's what happens when you bring in robots!”
Not so fast. Later, Mr. Bucket gets a job back at the same place. Now he didn't screw caps on toothpaste. He would supervise the machines, keep an eye on them. Way better job than before.
I say that's what we need to do. Let the machines, AI do the monotonous tasks for us but not depend entirely on them. They are our aides, not our guides. Life with Siri, Alexa, Cortana is easier but we can live without them. And can they live without us? LOL.