Is Artificial Intelligence something to be afraid of?

I wrote this post Artificial Intelligence in a human world not too long ago, talking about my own concerns about AI despite all the good that AI is reportedly already doing and hoping to achieve in the future.

 Have I changed my mind and now have both feet in the AI camp?

In short no.
It’s not because I fear technology at the moment I don’t feel comfortable with the thought of putting my complete trust and giving control over to a machine That is just my viewpoint but I also don’t think there is any need to be scaring the public into thinking that in a few years time their jobs could be taken over by a robot. Or that it’s already difficult enough for graduates to find suitable employment but now they could find themselves also competing against a machine. Of course not, but news reports can’t help themselves with a bit of scaremongering keeps readers on their toes.

AI doesn’t have to be this big scary monster that is coming to take over the world, it is about us adapting to a different way of life, isn’t moving forward about evolving and trying to improve the way we currently live?

When talking about AI I liked how this article from Venturebeat.com; 3 types of artificial intelligence, but only 2 are valid  broke down AI into three categories with simple explanations.

Transformative AI; The kind of AI that will “take over the world” — or at least have the most dramatic effect on how people live and work. Think driverless cars
DIY (Do It Yourself) AI; is any artificial intelligence platform whose end goal is to make you, the user, more informed so that you can then do the remaining work yourself.
Faux AI; They look and act like AI agents, but they are not really using machine learning. They are pretenders.

From my own perspective AI is still in its developing, there is a lot of testing, trial and error going on. Yes there are driverless cars in development but we won’t been seeing them as the norm for a while, then we have police robots despite the name they don’t have the same function as a police officer.

Medical

Regardless of how far technology advances there will always be a human in the background or working alongside the technology in question. A California based company have created a health scanning machine that uses AI to detect any ailments a person may have. This device will work alongside doctors who can then discuss your health using the visual scan, it will contain your medical history. This isn’t a way for doctors to get out of reading their patients notes but an easier way for them to keep track of their patients medical health.

The exoskeleton suit or wearable robot giving hope back to paralysed people enabling some to walk.

This suit can also help elderly people predicting when they are going to fall, no it doesn’t have a crystal ball. Quote below from Silvestro Micera, the lead author of the research by École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne explaining the suit.

“This device is able to understand whether there is a change in locomotion behaviour – in particular at the onset of falling,”

Think about the positive effect smart technology can have in people’s lives, it can give some people back their independence.

Customer Service

Chatbots you phone customer service or IT support and you’ll speak to a chatbot first and if they can’t help us will then be passed onto a person, this type of service is already in place with some companies. The idea is to save time making people more efficient at their job and focusing on the important aspects of it.

Chatbots a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.

Autism

I’ve mentioned in my previous AI post about the robot Zeno, this type of advancement is close to my heart having a brother who was only diagnosed with Asperger’s at 21. Anything that will help those with autism is something I will always advocate. From my own experience and knowledge of it, depending on where the person is on the spectrum things are in black and white, a logical approach is adopted much like those of machines. They are programmed with possible logical options, for humans that is like our emotions and how we interact socially, skills we learn when we are young. Skills that aren’t so easy for people with autism, my brother doesn’t always understand how sarcasm works but I can assure you he is getting better at dishing it out these days!

Law enforcement

Law enforcement is also getting in on the action with a robot police officer making an appearance at shopping centre’ in Dubai. Don’t worry if you’re young enough to remember it’s not the Robocop you’re thinking from the 80’s it doesn’t have the power to arrest, it is more a walking, talking information board.

‘People will be able to use it to report crimes, pay fines and get information by tapping a touchscreen on its chest.’

Part of me is still concerned about how dependent we could become on technology and the influence artificial intelligence could have. Just look at how the NHS Cyber attack affected health trusts including the one I work for. Everything came to a stand still, worry that patient medical information could be compromised, no functioning email for a period of time, we had to resort to going old school and picking up the phone to speak to people.  Then there was the worry of a second attack and measure taken to make sure the NHS IT network wasn’t vulnerable. So you can understand why I feel a bit sceptical about but my complete trust in technology because things can go wrong. Saying all this there is the other part of me that just from these handful of examples can see the benefits of AI. Imagine how many children could have benefitted from a robot like Zeno in the past and how a police robot with the right programming could help with the shortage of police officers on the street.

Driverless cars I am still on the fence, I haven’t even managed to move away from a manual drive car to automatic one let alone consider a driverless car. Who knows over time and once the bugs have been ironed out I may change my mind.

#Eggless pancake recipe

20170520_103941During the week I don’t always have the opportunity to eat a proper breakfast so I have started making my instant oats to take to work but there is only so much oats you can eat in a week.

This weekend I fancied some pancakes but didn’t have any eggs. Usually I always have a stocked cupboard with baking ingredients but it’s been a manic week so didn’t have time to do a proper shop.

I looked online for a recipe that was quick and easy but more importantly I had all the ingredients and they tasted nice. The recipes looked the same as normal pancakes just without eggs.

I made a small amount of batter and bread at the ready to make toast just in case they turned out awful. I usually work in gram measurements but for pancakes I used cups, it was just easier.

Ingrediants

1/2  cup Self raising flour
1/2 cup Milk
1 tbsp. Sugar or to taste
1 tsp Vanilla extract (I guestimated)

Method

Mix all the ingredients altogether to make a batter. If you find the batter is a bit too thick add a bit more milk.20170520_102925

Make pancakes as you normally would. Spoon some batter into the pan until bubbles start to appear then flip it over for about half a minute or until golden brown. Add your topping of choice and chomp away!

I took some to work and heated them in the microwave, maybe I heated them for too long as they did go a bit rubbery, still tasted nice.

Social branding: building my online personality

Not so long ago I wrote a blog called ‘ Social branding; who am I? Since then I have been working on creating and developing my online personality by sharing information, images that interest me and may possibly interest others. Along the way I’m making a few discoveries about myself, realising I know a bit more about digital marketing than I thought which is a boost for my self confidence. I’ve been working on my Twitter and LinkedIn profiles with a mixed bag of success, I’ll go into more detail below.

Twitter

I’m not embarrassed to say that in the past I wasn’t a Twitter person, since using it for work and attending some communication conferences I have got an insight to how I could effectively use this social network without sharing every aspect of life, nothing wrong in being selective.

  • Less is definitely more
  • Don’t go nuts with the hashtags
  • Be genuine and not so self centered.
  • Put some thought into the content I’m sharing, is it something my followers would be interested in.
  •  Don’t forget to have fun with it.
All sounds simple enough when you think about it
  • Put some effort into building your online persona,
  • Look for articles on your topic of interest
  • Like and share other people’s posts
  • Write and share your own words of wisdom, this part I sometimes struggle with, but something I am slowly but surely getting to grips with.
Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t

I’ll admit that I don’t always know what I’m doing, there is a lot of information online some of it can be conflicting and down right confusing. Eventually I will have a much more structured approach  but at the moment the mixture of structure and ‘winging it’ is paying off.

My number followers are increasing which is good though the numbers do tend to fluctuate.

Followers April-May

I noticed in one day my number of followers had fallen by 10, but by the end of the day I had regained the number of followers originally lost. As you can see I have been posting a lot of message related to technology. It’s linked to my new found interest of artificial intelligence, it’s something that both worries and fascinates me at the same time.

LinkedIn

I use this social network differently to Twitter. With Twitter I feel I have more freedom to post a mixture of posts that show my different interests from a digital communications point of view to baking and about the exercise classes I attend. LinkedIn has a more professional air and not really a place to post how I profusely glowed during a weekly Zumba class.

LinkedIn is a work in progress

I have updated my profile, even went as far as filling in the summary section about myself. If I keep going in the direction that I am it is only a matter of time that I too will be confidently sharing my own words of wisdom. No I just need to be a bit more active and get involved, comment on posts and join some of the groups.

The one things I have learnt and I would say is one of the most important pieces of advice given on this journey is that no matter what your topic of interest is, it is important to find your own voice, be yourself. Just because you can’t be seen doesn’t mean your followers won’t be able to see through the fakeness.

Things happen in three’s

Last week was an eventful one. You’ve heard the phrase ‘things happen in threes’ I didn’t know this was meant to happen every few months! I’ll start at the beginning of this downward spiral.

Tuesday; Light bulb shenanigans

  • The day was going well;
  • Work had been uneventful
  • Had a nice dinner
  • Housemate had shown me her engagement ring, yes there were a few of the obligatory high pitched girlie giggles that only dogs could hear.

So far so good right?

bulbI’m all settled in bed getting ready to jot down a few blog ideas until I get a text message from the housemate to see if I was still awake as she could smell something burning. Naturally I got worried with visions of the house burning down.
Checked all the electrics, the cooker etc and can’t find anything but there is a strong smell of burnt plastic. Turns out it was this light bulb in the uplighter in the living room that had burnt out. It took about three days for the small to completely fade.

Wednesday; Car, vroom, vroom, cough

My car. What happened in a way was my own fault and for being a bit tight on the purse strings but I thought I had a bit more time. The car exhaust had been growling a bit, ok a lot but I was hoping she would hang in there until pay day at least, of course that didn’t happen. Had a reasonably calm drive to work until I reached the company car park and the engine decided to intermittently cut out. Upon recommendation I took the car to a garage close to work who were excellent. Though busy they hooked the car up to a computer and fortunately no error codes flashed up so I could breath a small sigh of relief. Though it did mean the mechanics had to investigate a bit, here they discovered the growling exhaust. Not only was part of the exhaust rattling around but in another part there was a blockage co0ntributing to the engine cutting out. My car did spend a night at the garage but was back on the road the following day.

There is more yet to come.

Wednesday PM; QWERUIOP

Up until this point my laptop had been working had been working fine, installed some video editing software; a new skill I’m trying to learn. Windows runs and update as it does every so often. Hadn’t needed to use my laptop until Wednesday evening I discover that apart from the letters TY the rest of the keys in that row no longer work. At first I thought it was linked to the updates, maybe a software issue. Downloaded the correct keyboard driver and still no improvement. Final conclusion is there is a connectivity issue with the keyboard. I could pay to have it repaired but for now am using a USB keyboard. It does the job with no problems.

To complete the week the NHS network was hit by a Cyber Attack!

Not part of my three but still worth a mention. Everything went down Friday afternoon as our excellent IT team worked to get things back to normal as more reports about other NHS trusts IT networks had been attacked. Fortunately come Monday things are mostly up and running again, things could have been a lot worse.

Fingers crossed this week is a quite one.

New trainers; the bouncy feeling

Last month I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy a new pair of trainers. This may not sound like a big deal but I have a habit of wear things until they can’t be worn anymore plus I like my old trainers and still use them (they are still wearable, just tired looking) But I had begun to notice the old trainers didn’t have that bouncy feeling you get with new trainers any more.

If you do any kind of exercise it is generally a good idea to invest in a good pair of trainers, not just because of the bouncy feeling but also the support a decent pair of trainers can provide for your feet and ankles. If your ankles are anything like mine they need all the support they can get!

20170505_202350One of the things that puts me off buying new trainers is the cost of them, they are always so expensive or maybe I’m just tight fisted with money that to me they’re expensive.  Nevertheless off I went to Sports Direct and bought these bad boys, they ticked all the boxes; my size, look nice and in my price range.

Going back to the bouncy feeling, for me personally these new trainers led me into a false sense of security them made me feeling invincible. At the gym I prefer not to focus on how many calories lost but like to set myself goals and see how much distance I can cover in a certain amount of time. Whilst on the treadmill the new trainers made me feel so light that I thought to myself  ‘this is feeling a bit easier than usual’. So of course I thought I’d go a bit faster, I did manage to run a bit further than normal but my heart and lungs didn’t feel like thanking me for it. Then there are my knees, they that suffered the most, dodgy ankles, dodgy knees what’s next? Could it just be a factor I’m getting older? Hmm I don’t think so at least I hope not, am hoping that over time and gradually increasing how much exercise at a steady pace will strengthen my knees or at least not feel like I’ve been crippled.

So when buying new trainers beware of the bouncy feeling. It could give you the feeling that you are an Olympic runner when you’re not quite there. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

What I’ve learnt about creating online content so far

I’m not a social butterfly, I don’t thrive in a room full of strangers with ease. I am an introvert until I feel comfortable enough to allow my extrovert side to make an appearance. People who know me well enough may find this all hard to believe as they tend to worry when I am quiet! So you can imagine my own surprise that of all the jobs and potential career paths I could have fallen into and have a genuine eagerness to learn more about and some degree of success in is digital communications.

My current employment is in external communications; maintaining the company’s website and social media pages. I have been fortunate enough to have been allowed to explore the world of video, at the moment I have only dabbled in stop motion animation but will be using YouTube editing facilities in the near future. I have been to conferences to increase my understanding and learn from experts who were once in the same position as me; wondering where to start with a social media campaign, what content to share with the world, how to engage with people to create a strong following. Then there is the topic of branding, both for business and personal, that’s right people branding is not reserved just for businesses. Just by how I present myself online through the content I share, posts I comment on even this blog are all part of my brand.

Personal Brand

For the first time I took part (a little bit) on a Twitter chat hosted by Hootsuite called #HootChat. I was a bit apprehensive at first as many of the people also taking part sounded experienced and knew what they were talking about and knew each other, but we all have to start somewhere so in I jumped with my digital arm bands.

The questions put forward for discussion revolved around branding;

  • Do you have a brand?
  • How would you describe your brand?
  • How do you maintain your brand?

This got me thinking about myself and how would I answer these questions, in short the answer is I don’t know, I’m still figuring this out. What I have learnt so far is that I need to think about what is my online persona, is there something in particular I want to be known for?

Original tweet posted my Sarah Picard

Persona Tweet

I am sharing a lot of things around social media, mental health, blogging and artificial intelligence; this is a topic that has caught my eye lately. I want to try and remain a personable by sharing my interests and generally things that happen in my world.

MyTweet

Content is king

Whilst at the Engaging Digital Conference piece of advice given was when generating content think of it as storytelling. Engage, depending on the topic and your personality even entertain your followers through the power of your words. You want your content to encourage people to comment, share and like your posts.

Be selective, just because you have a lot to say doesn’t mean it needs to be said all at once, one of the pieces of advice given at the #DigCommsConf by speaker Oli Lewington was to avoid ‘blasting people with your hose of content’, you want people to come back!

Hashtags are handy but you don’t want them to distract from your message. At the conference during her talk speaker Joanna Goodwin noted that from her experience less hashtags used is more.

Twitter_Hashtag

Try not to be a complete narcissist and think just because you wrote an excellent article that people will just gravitate towards you. Get involved, share other people’s posts, comment, like etc. I manage to share and like other people’s posts but haven’t been very vocal when it comes to commenting. This is something I will work on but the fact I’m thinking about my personal brand and being more active on Twitter and LinkedIn is a step in the right direction.

Video

‘Video will account for 80% of all internet traffic by 2019, up from 64% in 2014, says technology giant Cisco. ‘

I still want to try my hand at creating and using more video in my posts. Video is a great way to tell a story and visually engages followers. I’m still a newbie and have been somewhat lazy in developing those skills myself, until then I will happily share other peoples videos.

How my views on #mentalhealth changed.

Not having suffered from a mental illness I can’t fully understand what someone who battles with such an illnesses goes through on a daily basis and the range of emotions they feel. However since working for a health trust provides both community and mental health services I have been fortunate enough to have met a range of people who live with their illnesses and have won the small battles to be able to live a normal life. I developed a better understanding of what mental health is, it isn’t just about the illnesses that you hear about on the television like schizophrenia, bi polar, depression etc it covers so much more; anxiety, postnatal depression can affect both parents not just the mum, eating disorders, autism also comes under mental health. We need to move away from defining people by their illness, not every person with the same illness will behave the same way. They are people with feeling and emotions first, their illness is secondary.

I have written about mental health from an employment point of view in the past since then mobile phones have evolved to mini personal computers, social media has expanded to the point that the people behind the social sites need to consider how to safe guard their users against bullying trolls, and gradually so have attitudes towards mental health.

I not saying that the entire world is now more open minded and educated but charities such as Time to Change, Mind and Heads Together that have been working endlessly to educate and encourage society to change the way it thinks and behaves towards those with a mental health illness.

Cultural boundaries

In my opinion mental health still has yet to cross over cultural boundaries with some cultures still not understanding or even accepting that mental health illness is real instead believing it can be treated by becoming more religious or is a form of possession. Thinking a person cannot ever lead a normal life but with the right treatment it can be possible. I’m not discounting that religion in some cases has helped bring calmness but it’s not to be used as a way to guilt trip the sufferer into thinking they are being punished by god.

A lot of work is still to be done the Asian community in the UK as it’s about breaking down age old barriers and changing the way older generations in particular think. Saying this credit has to be given as cracks are slowly starting to appear in those barriers, communities are learning and understanding that sometimes things in our heads get a bit jumbled up and that we need a bit of help to make things a bit less blurred.

Treatment

When I mentioned treatment your mind may have automatically gone straight to medication but this isn’t always the case. Treatment could be a series of counselling sessions in a group or one to one bases in the way of Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Exercise not only to helps to improve both mental and physical health but encourage socialisation. Fitness in Mind in Brentwood run an series of inclusive exercise classes ‘…designed to promote, encourage and provide physical activity as an aid to mental wellbeing.’ The Mind website has a list of alternative options if counselling or exercise doesn’t interest you.

Despite all these efforts it is still difficult for many people to share the demons they are battling with others for fear of being labelled by their illness. Time to Change recently led the campaign #inyourcorner this campaign focused on being there for your friend when they need you the most and also touching on men’s mental health encouraging to let go of the idea that sharing with you have a mental illness is not a sign of weakness.

Mental health awareness week

Mental health awareness week is 8-14 May #MHAW17, there will be events taking place across the country to get people talking and breaking down those walls. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about mental health and how you could support someone whilst they go through a dark patch and to share your own experiences.

Whatever you think mental health illness is may not be true. Don’t be fooled into thinking it couldn’t happen to you, mental health illnesses can affect any one of us at any time. You don’t have to understand mental health sometimes all you need to do is listen, keep an open mind and be supportive because one day it could be you that needs the same in return.

Linked articles

Are employers missing out by not employing people with autism?

Mental Health and Employment

 

 

We reached our #BHF target!

26 March my youngest two siblings and I took park in 5k run at run in Stratford London at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park‎ supporting the British Heart Foundation, our aim was to raise £300 for the charity. From donations received through our just giving online page and the money raised from the biscuits I baked and sold each week up until the run I’m pleased to say we managed to raise £320.

I wouldn’t say that my siblings and I have the running bug but we have become more active. Unfortunately my family and I are in the group that are at high risk for heart disease and diabetes. A combination of exercise and watching our diet is important especially as we lost both our dad and uncle to the disease.

  • We go to the gym.
  • My sister and I have started going to a Zumba class, the moves may look simple but you get an all body workout!
  • Wednesday’s are usually reserved for a body balance class whilst my brother goes for a workout in the same gym.

20170305_201129Don’t think I’ll give up on the unhealthy foods but everything in moderation. I have begun making my own instant oat packets for breakfast, one to save money but the other was to be able to have a variety of flavours that I like. Day one today and have to admit I do like my oats a bit sweeter but before I reach for the sugar bowl I’ll try alternatives like honey and fruit to sweeten it up. 20170424_081830[1]

I’m still making my own flapjack / oat squares things. These ones I added raspberries which blended in with the oat mixture and some mixed chopped nuts I found in the cupboard. I’m not too sure about how these have turned out just yet, think I may have used too many nuts! Managed to take a picture of them before I rushed out the door for work.

Fundraising

I know it wasn’t the most healthy but baking biscuits to raise money appealed to the masses. Each week I would try and bake a different type of biscuit for a bit of variety though I have to admit my shortbread biscuits are pretty good. The final week’s biscuit offerings were a cross between a chocolate chip cookie and shortbread with a bit of orange extract thrown it. I wasn’t sure what kind ofBake the best response these biscuits would receive so you can imagine my surprise when I sold out within two days. They had a crumbly kind of texture and the orange flavour came through nicely.

Courtesy of my cookbook ‘Bake like the Best’ below is the recipe if you would like to make some of your own.

Make about 30

Ingredients

225g Butter, softened
140g Castor Sugar
1 egg Yolk lightly beaten
2 tsp Orange extract
280g Plain flour
100g plain chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate chips)
Pinch of salt

Cinnamon Sugar

1.5 tbsp Castor sugar
1.2 tbsp cinnamon

Method

Preheat the oven to 190C / gas mark 5, line a baking sheet with baking paper

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and mix well, you can use a wooden spoon I used an electric mixer. Then beat in the egg yolk and orange extract.

Sift together the flour and salt and add to the butter / sugar mixture. Add the chocolate chips and stir until thoroughly combined.

For the cinnamon sugar coating mix the castor sugar and cinnamon together in a shallow dish. If you don’t like cinnamon you can just use sugar or any other flavouring you like.

Roll about a tablespoon amount of dough into a ball and roll in the cinnamon sugar before placing on the baking tray.

Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes. They’ll be soft when the come out of the oven so leave them to cool on the baking tray for about 5-10 minutes then using a palette knife or anything flat remove the biscuits from the tray onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make your own oat bars / flapjacks

I’m not as healthy as I could but I do like to try and find a balance. I like oat bars but thought I would try and make some of my own, I would know what goes into them and would be cheaper to make a batch at home.

All I wanted was a straightforward simple recipe that I could adapt to suit me, not too much to ask for really. Google search later and a number of recipes pop up from those including protein powder to chia seeds none of which I would have laying around in my kitchen cupboards. I found I could go super healthy and have all the internal cleansing, gut busting ingredients that would that would probably cost me a small fortune or I could start by using a few ingredients that I know I have.

Oat BarsThis recipe from www.inspiredtaste.net probably isn’t considered healthy with the honey, butter and sugar but at least I know what is going into them and cost me pennies to make. I didn’t have any almonds so skipped this step, mine did turn out looking more like flapjacks but tasted nice all the same.

The recipe is versatile that you can add any additional ingredients; berries, raisins, flax seeds etc, I stuck with cranberries and may have gone a bit overboard with the chocolate chips. The only thing I may play around with is the honey and sugar quantities as it was a bit sweet for me, that is just a personal taste. Overall this is a good recipe to start with when making your own oat bars / squares. So what are you waiting for, below is the recipe from Inspired Taste.

Makes 12 bars

Ingredient

2 1/2 cups (230 grams) old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup (80 grams) whole almonds, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup (113 grams) honey

1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/4 cup (50 grams) packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (60 grams) dried cranberries, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (65 grams) mini chocolate chips

Method

Toast Oats and Nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees F / gas mark 4. Line bottom and sides of a 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with aluminium foil. Then lightly oil or spray with cooking spray.

Add oats and almonds to a small baking sheet then bake 5 minutes, stir and bake another 3 to 5 minutes until lightly toasted. Transfer to a large bowl.

Combine butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract and the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves.

Pour butter mixture in to bowl with toasted oats and almonds. Mix well.

Let cool about 5 minutes then add cranberries and a 1/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips. Stir to combine. (The chocolate chips will most likely melt a little. This is fine, they turn into glue and help to hold the bars together). I should have waited a bit longer as the chocolate melted quite a lot.

Transfer oat mixture to lined pan then use a rubber spatula or damp finger tips to firmly press the mixture into the pan. (Press hard here, this way the bars will stay together once cooled and cut — We press for about one minute to be extra safe).

Scatter remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips over pressed granola mixture then use a rubber spatula to gently press them into the top. Cover then refrigerate at least 2 hours. Remove block of granola mixture from pan then peel away aluminium foil. Cut into 12 bars.

Store bars in an airtight container for up to one week. For the softest bars, keep at room temperature. For slightly harder bars, store in the fridge.

Artificial Intelligence in a human world

Since joining Netflix I watched a range of films and television series even sometimes binge watching a particular television series that has me hooked one of them being a series called Scorpion. It’s about a team of geniuses who have the intelligence to create a functioning computer out of your toaster and your mobile phone but lack the social skills to interact in what is considered normal society.  This series though repetitive got me thinking about all the hype surrounding artificial intelligence. Like it or not AI is steadily infiltrating the world as we know it. We already heavily rely on techinology to communicate, work and play.

AI didn’t just happen overnight and appear on our doorstep one morning, Kismet, a robot head created in the 1990’s at Massachusetts Institute of Technology  was able to recognise and imitate human emotions. Fast forward to today and we have Google working on a self-driving car and a sex bot in the making courtesy of Realbotix, something for everyone.

How does AI work? Very much like a computer that is programmed with a number of possible scenarios that could be encountered followed up with the number of possibly human reactions. From watching the series Scorpion I learnt that with a skill for coding and an ability to hack into almost anything a computer programme can be overridden and left in control of the hacker. How can an AI machine be programed with every possible outcome of a situation, humans adapt we learn from experiences and evolve so how can we expect an AI robot to behave in the same way? MIT may have solution with a robot that works off the brain signals from a human; ‘The robot/human interaction with EEG signals allows for direct and fast communication—communication that could remove barriers for operating a robot.’

For now AI technology behaves the way it is told to but how long before it advances to think for itself and behave accordingly? Machines are designed to think in black and white most of the time there is no grey area, a machine can learn to assess a situation, weigh up the pros and cons of various reactions but will it consider the emotional element that separates the human race from a machine? I’ve seen I Robot where one robot goes ‘rogue’ and believes it dreams for itself, those dreams had been implanted by its creator, was able to feel emotions, evolve and create an uprising of forgotten good machines against the evil one.

Worries aside AI does have its uses. Heard of the robot Zeno helping autistic children to communicate and interact with others? If you know anything about autism depending where on the spectrum the child is emotional interaction whether it is verbal (sarcasm, jokes) or physical (actions, hugging) is not easily understood. Zeno in a fun way to interact with a verbal and non-verbal child through conversation, facial expressions and actions making them feel comfortable so they don’t realise they are learning important social skills.

We’re not at the stage where we can worry about a rise of the machines but the focus on wanting to create a lifelike as possible robotic humanoid is a bit worrying. A machine maybe more efficient, can work longer hours possibly be considered safer and more effective but it’s still a machine.