Blog: AI — Fear, uncertainty, and hope
How to cope with AI and start becoming a part of it
If you open a news site today, you are almost sure to be met with an article about AI, Robotics, Quantum computing, genetic engineering, autonomous vehicles, natural language processing, and other technologies from the box called “The fourth industrial revolution”. Rating these technologies makes no sense, as they all have a staggering potential to change our world forever. Artificial intelligence, however, is already surging into all of the other technologies. To facilitate by the mastering of big data, pattern recognition, or prediction is an inherent quality of AI, and is frequently being applied to support ground-breaking discoveries in other technologies.
I once heard a driving instructor comparing holding the hands on the steering wheel to having a gun in the hand, because of how dangerous it is to drive a car. AI is also dangerous, and we need to face the dark side of AI too, not only revel in the glorious benefits it brings us. Anything else would be reckless driving.
Fear and uncertainty
With the growing exposure to AI, our human identity and intelligence are being challenged. When will AI become smarter than us? Is it possible at all? How many jobs will be taken over by AI? Will an equal amount of new jobs be created? What about the market of my company, will that be impacted, and can I do anything about it at all? By now all the worries and reservations are well known. And each of the concerns has enough material for an article on its own.
How to cope with AI
One way to cope with the AI challenge is denial. Simply label it all as a big hype that will pass over and make a place for the next big thing.
Well, AI is currently flowing into the day-to-day life of private individuals and enterprises, and there is a strong probability that all of us have already been in contact with AI several times since we got up this morning (knowingly or not). Five years ago, this would not have been the case.
The amount of AI solutions already implemented and fully integrated into our life, combined with the high frequency of innovating and trailblazing new products being rolled out all over the world, in my opinion, suggest that denial is no option.
Face ID on your phone, Google maps, Amazon product recommendation, Google translate, The personal assistant on your phone, are all products using AI and they are already an integrated part of our lives.
So, what can you do to get on the AI train? How can you prevent being left behind?
Get acquainted with AI
When getting acquainted with AI, it is important to realize the difference between rule-based expertise and experience-based expertise. You can argue that both are AI, as rule-based systems also can contain “Intelligence”. A rule-based system contains the knowledge of the people who developed it. An experience-based (ML) system has obtained its knowledge via a learning process controlled by the people who made it. It was trained by comparing the input with the expected output, adjusting the neural network (NN) and trying again millions of times. This means that an ML solution can acquire more knowledge and experience about a specific task than its creator. This is the key point! A conventional rule-based AI software can never be more intelligent than the people that design it, an ML software solution can.
Two simple examples:
· A calculator, Rule-based
· Facial recognition, Experience-based (ML)
The input for a calculator is very structured and the processing rules can be described logically in a straight forward manner. The digit “1” is always “1” and never just “a kind of 1”.
In Facial recognition, on the other hand, the object is much more unclear in the structure. Every face has another size, shape, hair colour, and in some cases, you might even only see one ear.
It would be very inefficient to make a calculator using ML, and past experiences have shown that it is next to impossible to create a facial recognition system using a traditional rule-based approach.
When you start an app on your phone or an application on your laptop, it will help you to become more aware of AI, if you consider what kind of application it is. Is it a calculator (rule-based) or a facial recognition (ML) type? Please note though, that often AI/ML solutions are implemented as additional supportive functions in a rule-based solution. A camera app is a good example. Some of the functions in a camera app are solved using rule-based logic and others (like facial recognition) are solved using AI/ML.
Once you spot an AI/ML function, try figuring out how it was trained. What kind of data was used? Imagine how you would have done it. Are training data available or would it be necessary/possible to create simulation data? You don’t have to be an IT expert to do this. As long as you focus a little more on how it works, out of pure curiosity, your own private neural network in the brain will start recognizing AI function automatically, which again will increase your awareness about it.
Imagine your own AI solutions
Another way of preparing for the AI future is to start imagining your own AI solutions. Spend some time playing with the idea of AI in your daily life, at home and in your job. Can you identify a function that could be carried out or supported by AI? Be creative in your imagination, this could even become your new job somewhere in the future. If you are a little creative or like to find ways of optimizing your private or professional tasks, then this could actually be fun. Playing with the AI concept like this will help you gain interest in the topic and it will support you in forming your own opinion about what is good AI and what suppressing and dangerous AI.
Think out-of-the-box and stay inside the frames of reality (which are actually extremely wide). Maybe you or your organization will become one of the next Google AI Impact Challenge grantees.
Who are the most intelligent in our society today? Are they the same who are governing our countries? Does having an IQ of 180, grant you power over other people? Are the 10 richest people in the world the same as the 10 with the highest IQ? Why not? I see human mankind as being so much more than intelligence, I think most of us do. Our lives are not just dictated, even controlled by intelligence. AI, however, challenges us to become conscious about the other components — the human elements. Consciousness, empathy, curiosity and tremendous self-restraint and will to survive.
AI requires laws and rules of conduct on the regulatory level, like any other important and common area of our society. Fortunately, today there are literally thousands of AI projects with the intention to improve the lives of humans all over the world.
On a personal level, we all need to participate, and we already do. Question is; Are you participating consciously or not — it’s your choice.
Try out this game for yourself: It is a connect four game. it was developed by the GraphPipe project as a use case for their ML Model deployment project. If you are interested in the specifics behind it, Anthony Young wrote a good article about it.