Blog: Artificial Intelligence: A gift or a curse?
The definition of artificial intelligence (AI) is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. Normally, when people think of this, they think of I’Robot (starring Will Smith), well known individual’s like Elon Musk and Steven Hawking fear that the prevalent use of AI will eventually lead to humanity’s extinction. We are years from developing a self aware AI that could potentially wipe us from the planet and even then, I doubt we would be in trouble.
Let’s take a step back from conspiracy theories and take a look at the facts. The truth is, AI a really broad terminology that can confuse some individuals. We can firstly achieve AI through the means of Machine Learning, which can be implemented to a concept called Deep Learning. Deep Learning is one of the foundation’s of understanding Neural Network’s in AI. A lot of research has been going on in the world’s leading institution to eventually develop Strong AI. This is better represented in the diagram below.
All of these term’s above are mentioned as if they were synonymous with each other. As of today, we are not technologically advanced enough to make AI that is “self-aware”, however with the advancement of technology increasing at an exponential rate, who know’s what result will occur.
It’s important to note that we are capable of making “Weak AI”, AI that is limited to a specific task or a narrow area. We can take Apple’s Siri and the Google Assistant for examples. Their task is to help you navigate through your phone via voice command, meaning it will only solve a query only when you ask for it, because it is programmed to do so.
If you are interested in diving into Artificial Intelligence as a future career, you might want to look into Python as a programming language, purely because it’s syntax is a lot cleaner, you can read code a lot easier, it has a wide range of framework’s and libraries which make Machine Learning more efficient. On the plus side, if you have experience in Ruby, you’ll have minimal difficulty in learning Python because they are very similar in terms of syntax.
To better understand AI, I will explain Machine Learning a bit more. It came into existence around 1980–1990. This allows the machine to learn and make prediction’s based on its experience. The diagram below shows how a machine learning model works.
We can think the Machine Learning Model as a human brain too. A human can be given a beginning scenario (A) and it’s final outcome (B) and it will decide the best way to get from point A to point B. You can think of it as the best way to get from one location to the destination at the best way as possible based on your experience. That’s essentially how the algorithms run in a Machine Learning Model.
The human brain is by far the best computational machine we know for solving problems and learning new situations. As a brain is made up of billions of neurons, we can say the same thing about the fundamentals of neural network’s in AI, this give’s rise to an area called Deep Learning, in which neural network’s have more than 3 layers.
To reiterate, AI is a broad term in mainstream media, this term can be developed through the mean’s of Machine Learning, which can be applied to Deep Learning where we now model the “neuron’s” as code which we can then make a network out of, and solve complex problems.
There are a number of companies today that implement the use AI’s concepts as part of their core business. One of them is called BenevolentAI. This company makes the use of Machine Learning to speed up the development pharmaceutical drug’s and to deliver them more efficiently to the patients. As the human body is vastly complex with various receptors and hormones, it would take an overwhelming amount of time to process how certain drugs would react to our bodies, not to mention the potential dangers of human drug trials is another obstacle to face. Just recently, the company partnered up with AstraZeneca, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, this just show’s that AI will be an essential part of infrastructure as the opportunities of applying these concept’s are endless.