A lot of companies say their technology is cutting edge, but what does that mean? Is the so called “cutting-edge” technology good? Bad? Ugly?
If we believe every company that tells us that their tech is the most advanced, then is there even really such a thing as cutting-edge tech at all, or are they only tweaking the status quo?
Are any advancements really being made any more??? (If we are judging by the iPhone, the answer is a firm no)
In order to truly answer these questions, in this article we will explore one facet of cutting-edge technology that has become so normalized that we don’t even realize it’s there most of the time.
If you saw the Disney movie Smart Housewhen you were a kid you’ll know exactly what I think of when I hear the term AI. (Short for Artificial Intelligence)
That’s right. A 50’s style, over-hair sprayed, homicidal, housewife-type hologram.
But smart homes have already become a reality, and I have yet to hear about any families being held hostage by them. This is probably because AI is actually nothing more than a computer programmed to simulate human intelligence.
That means computers that are programmed to learn, reason, and self-correct themselves. This can be complex (little to no human intervention to problem-solve) or simple (lots of human interaction to problem-solve) depending on the purpose of the machine.
Complex vs. simple AI
According to this website (https://searchenterpriseai.techtarget.com/definition/AI-Artificial-Intelligence), complex AI technology would be a computer programmed to have general human cognitive abilities. Things like theory of mind and self-awareness (the ingredients for a crazy, family-napping house) are what make up complicated artificial intelligence.
While having a self-aware robot house might be cool (I’m still skeptical) this technology is so cutting-edge that it doesn’t actually exist yet.
Simple AI is much more familiar to us all. Programs like Siri, Alexa, and other forms of virtual assistants fall under the category of simple artificial intelligence, because they are not self-aware and they rely heavily on human interaction.
There are so many areas in our everyday lives that could benefit from more advanced AI.
I think the most well-known way that AI has become beneficial is through advancing online businesses through the use of chat bots. These bots can be used to automatically respond to business inquiries, which can help increase customer satisfaction.
They’re expected to play a H-U-G-E role in online businesses of the future.
But (and it’s a big but) this is only helpful if the chat bot simulates the tone and responses of a human. Most people don’t really trust automated systems (who knew?) so it’s a no-no to have a bot-like bot contact a potential customer.
In the home, AI can provide more advanced security, better control of energy consumption, better quality/more interactive entertainment, make chores more convenient to complete, and allow access to dependable information any time a question is asked.
In the work force, AI is already helping to boost productivity and the quality of manufacturing.
In the medical field, lots of administrative and medical dosage errors are being corrected by AI. Medical imaging has also been improved, which has helped doctors with prescribing more personalized treatment planning that fits individual symptoms.
Okay guys, one of the down sides is that no one can actually understand how the artificial intelligence algorithms actually work. This is the scary thing about such cutting-edge technology.
AI is so cutting-edge and self-sufficient that it’s evolving at a more rapid rate than the programmers can keep up with. So, if it mutates into something more than the simple tool it is now, it’s possible that either we won’t be aware until something bad happens or someone will figure out how it works and harnesses it for their own gain.
Another down side is that—because AI is originally created by people, and people have specific, personal worldviews—bias is almost impossible to remove from the algorithms. This may not seem like a big deal and, on the whole it probably won’t be, but there will most definitely be some cases where the unknown bias impacts someone, somewhere in an extremely negative way.
AI has the potential to be used as a weapon. This should be obvious to anyone who has read a history book.
Let’s face it, humans like to kill other humans. It just keeps happening, and we keep thinking up ways to make it bigger and “better.” (even typing that concept makes me cringe)
Because of the rapidly-evolving, unpredictable nature of AI, it’s impossible to say exactly how it could be weaponized—but that’s exactly what makes it such a scary idea. It has limitless potential.
It is also important to note that algorithms are not ethical.
This basically means that a computer doesn’t have a conscience. This means that the technology that will be deciding things about healthcare, jobs, loans, and even potential romantic partners (looking at you Tinder) will not take into account human things like attraction, empathy, or compassion.
I think the bottom line is that AI is an amazing, cutting-edge technology with potential for so much good—but just as much potential for truly bad or ugly outcomes. Without regulation or understanding of how it works, I don’t think that it should be so prominent in our everyday lives.