Will Artificial Intelligence take over Humans

Will Artificial Intelligence take over Humans: Overview

For the past four centuries humans as a civilization have progressed leaps and bounds. Distances that would take months can now be covered in hours and the quality of life has improved on an unprecedented level. How did this happen? Starting from steam engines to Artificial Intelligence, humans have covered vast intellectual distances in recent history in terms of technological revolution.

But Artificial Intelligence is quite different from its predecessors and unlike steam, electricity and automation it is something unparallel. Why? Because It is about giving the machines a very important human capability i.e. decision making 1. In literal terms, humans are now sharing their most important skill with the machines and that is somewhat scary as well.

Will Artificial Intelligence take over Humans: The Roboticism

In the past 90 years humans have developed another fetish with the term robot and the ones that can take over the world and extinguish human beings. It all started back in 1920 when a Chech novelist and playwright Karel Capek used the term Robot in his play “Rossum’s Universal Robots”, for a machine that could decide on its own and pose threat to humans 2. Then later it became a fantasy with the writers and movie makers who kept on pushing with the idea of machines taking over, for example HAL 9000 in Stanley Kubriks “2001: A Space Odyssey” and the most iconic T-1000 in James Cameroon’s Terminator series 3

Will Artificial Intelligence take over Humans: Artificial Neural Networks

However, all the fantasy now seems to get materialized with the Artificial Intelligence in full swing and all thanks to the “Neural Networks”4. Back in 2012 when the scientists somewhat tried to mimic the biological neural networks in human brain and how the information actually moves around. There are five senses and the data gathered by these five senses are the basis of any “decision” humans or any other living being makes 5.

This is where Artificial Intelligence as technology got revolutionized and to this day, it is just progressing exponentially. The idea is to mimic one cognitive process of humans i.e. pattern recognition and that is how Artificial Intelligence started getting mature. Now, when there is a lot of data and just like biological neural networks if the same could be replicated in a machine to make patterns and then decide on the given patterns 6.

Want to read more on this topic? view our Artificial Neural Networks Article

Will Artificial Intelligence take over Humans: Will They Take Over

With the recent developments in this field a big question has come knocking at the door of human intellect. Will Artificial Intelligence take over the humans? However, there are various opinions to this question but since humans have a very special trait called “survival instinct”, thus whenever they feel threatened it becomes a matter of survival. The way Dan Brown put it in his high-speed novel “Origin”, it seems very much likely that humans as a civilization will turn in to a newer version like cyborgs or human/machine hybrids 7. But we must understand that fantasy and story telling when added, the result is imagination and it goes either way. Similarly, the leading names in the scientific community are divided and it has emerged as the biggest debate of modern times 8.

The way Artificial Intelligence actually operates is solely based on the Big-data generated through various online platforms. It means that the quality of data matters a lot in this conjecture but the most important thing is, “object recognition”, the Artificially Intelligent systems rely on Internet of Things (the sensors like our five senses) and the data generated to achieve an inference. So, the Artificial Intelligence is a system so highly dependent on the data, as Stuart Russel puts it in his book “Human Compatible” 9, he argues that there is a lot of hype associated with Artificial Intelligence and since humans believe it a manifestation of the “Terminator” in less than a decade, thus it seems more of a shock than a transition. 

Is AI an Exponential Technology

Kai-Fu-Lee in his international best-seller “AI upper Power”, discusses a matrix in which he very amicably details the kinds of jobs will be replicated by the machines in future. So, if the machines will take over the jobs that human usually perform then what will be left for humans to do? There are two different opinions on this, first that humans will be left with much time to do delicate intellectual jobs like “thinking” and planning for superior technological advancements 10.

Figure 2: From the book “AI Superpowers” by Kai-Fu-Lee

Second, that probably a huge percentage of humans in the future will be jobless and very few will run the show but will make enough that a part of it could be distributed among the remaining as “Universal Basic Income” (UBI) 11. However, if we look at the matrix by Kai-Fu-Lee, the development in AI field is not as exponential as it is considered. As Yuval Noah Harari puts it in his book “Homo Deus”, that the two major domains in the future are Infotech & Biotech, yet the technological development always comes in phases and a phase usually is not less than a decade.

Figure 3: Key milestones for Artificial Intelligence as predicted in year 2016 by MIT Technology Review

But we must not forget that technology is cannibalistic in nature, take the example of smartphones. If you compare a modern age smartphone with the old wireless phones that weighed around a couple of pounds and what happened in between. Technology doesn’t replicate, it builds and extinguishes its past. The question is if somehow Artificial Intelligence is one such technology and does the same to humans? This is something that needs fair attention.

The Final Word

The biggest debate is whether humans will remain the same or humanity itself will evolve to accommodate this revolutionary technology. Or maybe the Artificial Intelligence will develop its own consciousness and consider humans a foe. Furthermore, if humans will be replaced by an upgraded version of themselves with something more compatible with Artificial Intelligence, what kind of a future will that be. For now, all we can fore-see is a drastic change coming ahead. Like its predecessors, Artificial Intelligence is also a technology conceived by the human intellect, but it is different as it can make its own way by taking decisions.

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