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.

Advertisements

My ‘get to the end of year’ plan.

DiaryPlannerWhilst speaking with a friend over the weekend we got onto the topic of careers and the future. We are both in our 30’s; she is married and was talking about her husband and his current employment. Her and her husband have very different outlooks and attitudes towards things yet complement each other, like ying and yang. My friend’s husband is very laid back and thinks he has all the time in the world whereas my friend is more proactive and wants things done there and then.

This discussion brought us on to the topic of having a five year plan. She has at least three, a backup plan for the backup plan, something her husband has not ever thought about and admittedly neither have I. My way of thinking and approach to things is nothing like my friends husbands though it did get me thinking whether it is something I should think about. I just about plan how I am going to get through the week let alone think about where I expect to be in five years’ time!

Is it necessary to have such a long term plan? In my view, circumstances change so quickly that the plan would need tweaking every so often, if you really wanted to go down this path wouldn’t it be more realistic to have a shorter plan, say three years?

In general I don’t long term plan, I find something I like then go with it for however long it lasts for or see if there is room for growth, if not then I move onto something else that piques my interest. No-one would have thought five years ago that this woman (me) who could barely cook a main meal has ended up baking and not doing a bad job of it either. I guess my next step would be thinking about seriously marketing myself and my cakes.

Where I want to be in five years’ time I honestly do not know.  Perhaps it would be an idea to start thinking about working towards some kind of goal? Upon reflection based on the different interests I have and the various things I enjoy I’m realistically working on a ‘get to the end of the year’ plan.

  • Register onto a cake decorating class
  • Get my blue belt in kickboxing (hopefully in December) without sustaining any injuries
  • Get my shed fixed (this has been on-going since I bought the house 4 years ago!)
  • Research the possibly of me and another friend having a ‘now and then’ cake stall, on top of our full time jobs.

No doubt there will be some amendments to this list as the year goes on, but at least it’s a start. 😀