AI, you name it, we can do it

Google has taken itself to next level of technology. It has recently developed a new feature on Google Assistant where it can arrange human-like calls for you. They showed examples of appointments and reservations arranged by Google Assistant which interestingly sounded like a normal person with no indication of being robotic. The development of artificial intelligence has been slowly integrating into our daily life. The knowledge of AI is important as it can affect our jobs in the future. Is this beneficial or terrifying in our society?

AI development

AI, or artificial intelligence, is a technology that has not yet been around for a long time. Therefore, the relative development we have already made in this field is staggering. The concept was first born in 1956 when Allen Newell (CMU), Herbert Simon (CMU), John McCarthy (MIT), Marvin Minsky (MIT) and Arthur Samuel (IBM) came together in a local workshop of Dartmouth College. These gentlemen would become the founders of AI research. Within three years they managed to create programs able to beat the average checkers player. Soon other functions followed, such as being able to solve mathematical problems, prove algebraic theories and speak English.

After the major success was noted by bigger organizations, the real expansion began. Governments and companies started to invest heavily in the newly found technology and the future was approaching faster and faster. Not everyone was as positive about the AI research, however, since many people did not see the benefit of smarter computer programs. We have to remind ourselves that people at that time could never foresee the opportunities that AI would bring in time.

As we now know, however, the AI research got back on track again and it is now one of the most innovative fields of technology out there. Investments right now are bigger than ever, as are the numbers of people working on the programs. This is reflected in the results. Only one year ago, a group of researchers created a self-learning AI which was supposed to play one of the most popular games in the world, namely Dota 2. This game has an enormous community that holds a world tournament every year in which millions of dollars can be won. Therefore, it is no surprise some people actually try to make their living playing the game and becoming the best. The self-learning AI, however, was let loose in the game and started with only the simple ruleset of Dota as its starting knowledge. The better strategies and ways to play would be learned when playing against normal players. In only a few months, the program was able to beat some of the best players in the world and was still getting better. This is just one simple example of what AI can do if it programmed optimally. The ways it can be used are near limitless and so is its potential.

In only a few months, the program was able to beat some of the best players in the world and was still getting better

Influences of AI

Google Assistant has recently introduced a new feature of human-like calls that can arrange calls for you, which is another example of an AI development. Does this mean a possibility of AI eliminating jobs or displacing workers over time? The interference of AI on jobs has been observed, but AI has shown to be immensely beneficial to companies. According to Jha, it has shown an incredible growth in the process performance, high productivity in less time, increase in market share and improvement in employee retention.

It has been predicted that by 2025, AI enterprise software revenue will grow from $644 million to nearly $39 billion

Many organizations and companies are experimenting with AI where it aids businesses to grow and move forward. It has been predicted that by 2025, AI enterprise software revenue will grow from $644 million to nearly $39 billion. Companies that lack the investment in AI will be left behind due to the competitiveness of other businesses. According to Desjardins, AI has impacted industries in Manufacturing, Wholesale & Retail, Public Services, Information & Communications, Financial Services, Construction, Transportation and Storage. Manufacturing alone will grow to $4 trillion due to AI. China will obtain the most benefits economically by $7 trillion due to AI.

Possible dangers

As many benefits and opportunities AI may have, there may also be some dangers for the future. Since more and more simple jobs will be able to be done by AI, many people may find themselves replaced by a program simply because it is cheaper to have a computer do the work than it is to pay employees. It remains to be seen how many people actually benefit from AI, taking over as many jobs and functions as it is. Another threat, that may sound extreme, is the fact that when AI comes to a certain point it is so advanced it will be able to think for itself. This is where the idea for movies like ‘Terminator’ and ‘The Matrix’ come from.

Many people may find themselves replaced by a program simply because it is cheaper

Even though this may seem a crazy Sci-Fi idea, many of the most foremost researchers and scientists in the field of AI have expressed their concerns regarding this problem. Men like Elon Musk and Stephan Hawking have signed a petition to put more regulation on the research of self-thinking AI for just that reason. There also is an example of this happening already. Last year, Facebook pulled the plug on an experiment where they let two advanced bots chat with each other. In a shockingly short amount of time, the robots developed a language in which they could communicate much faster with each other than normal English. The problem was that the researchers could not understand or decipher this language. They have, therefore, no idea what the programs were talking about. When the bots no longer listened to switch to English, the researchers decided to shut them off and have not experimented with it since.

 What the future may hold

All in all, we can conclude that AI is not just a normal field of technology. It may hold the answers to many of our problems and it may make the lives of many people easier. Companies and organisations will benefit a great deal, being able to automate their production and services even more. The threats, however, may overshadow all of these benefits. As many investors may gain from the development of AI, people with easy automatable jobs might find themselves unemployed, since they are easily replaced by a program. Not to mention the concerns many great thinkers have towards self-thinking AI. What the future holds is still uncertain, this great technology might solve many of the problems we face today. It is, however, something we must approach with great caution.

Izzabelle Ballouz & Max Kanne