To understand what the future of artificial intelligence (AI) looks like, one must understand the exact definition of the technology. AI is an encompassing technology that looks to replicate human reasoning and learning while using sensing capabilities such as walking, talking, feeling, and hearing. The definition provides for the use of imagination to suggest that it is theoretically possible to simulate what science fiction considers as realistic.
Most of this thinking is hype that revolves around the topic. The end of human civilization by the hand of a robot revolution that begins with the enslavement of mankind is still far-fetched. Instead, the future of AI is centered around smarter technologies that improve efficiency and productivity and assist humans in performing certain tasks.
AI as a disruptive technology
Most people disagree on what the exact future of AI looks like. Nevertheless, one area of agreement is that the technology is disruptive. This type of technology differs in that these replace existing and established products and create new industries. Generally, disruptive technology will have initial flaws that a small segment of the market, called the innovators, will overlook. Because of the innovative nature, this market segment will adopt and use the technology, causing a competitive advantage. As more companies or consumers adopt innovation through improvements in initial flaws and overall market-wide acceptance, the product becomes more mainstream and develops into a sustaining technology. Currently, AI is heading into a disruptive form set to create entirely new industries and a string of creative products and services.
Threats and fear
In 1965, I.J. Good suggested that artificial intelligence that produces cognitive thinking to the point of self-improving and auto-correcting has the potential to surpass the capabilities of the human brain. This thought led to the fear of possible misuses and a loss of control. In a way, Good was describing Neural Networks and Machine Learning, which are systems that can receive new information and adjust accordingly.
Nevertheless, one area of disagreement among experts is if super-intelligent machines will ever be capable of exhibiting human emotions, including love, hate, and anger. Therefore, although AI does have the capability of being programmed to harm, such as an autonomous weapon being used by someone with a bad intention, such a threat already exists and depends on a human element.
Instead, AI can be programmed for human benefit and serve to assist humanity. To achieve this, technology leaders such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and others have spoken publicly about the risks and about how leaders and researchers can develop guidelines to ensure responsibility and collaboration. This is how companies like Ezra AI are using innovative technology powered by artificial intelligence to create a less invasive MRI for prostate cancer screening and how others in the medical community are using AI as a tool to improve the quality of life.
Is the future bright or should we be scared?
Although the science fiction angle may scare off many analyzing the potential and future of AI, companies are already starting to see the advantages that enhanced human intelligence produces by the adoption of the technology. Business owners, for example, are beginning to understand how the different aspects including neural networks, genetic algorithms, and machine learning can serve as a tool for making better decisions.
Furthermore, artificial intelligence is set to improve operational efficiency while also reducing costs, including those associated with labor. This may seem like a threat to some industries; nevertheless, the potential to create higher paying jobs and new industries far outweigh the loss of possible employment due to automation. For business, automation will result in higher levels of productivity and revenue, thereby increasing the ability to invest in more opportunities that can support jobs in new sectors of the economy.