Artificial Intelligence Today

artificial intelligence, AI

When David Hanson, the founder of Hanson Robotics, asked the social humanoid robot Sophia in 2016, whether she plans on destroying us humans, Sophia simply replied with “Ok I will destroy humans”. People often think about doomsday scenarios where robots are destroying the earth when hearing the term ‘Artificial Intelligence’. In reality, that is not what artificial intelligence defines. Keep on reading if you want to know what artificial intelligence really is and how helpful it is in our modern world. 

To Define or Not to Define 

When people think that robots are going to destroy the world, it presupposes a form of superiority. This is related to the concept of superintelligence. As of right now, humans are the most intelligent beings on earth. Superintelligence, however, relates to machines surpassing our level of intelligence. Which could then lead to them taking over the world – which mirrors the fear of people. Coming back to the term artificial intelligence (AI), there are various ways to define it. One definition is that artificial intelligence is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs. The Cambridge Dictionary defines artificial intelligence as “the study of how to produce machines that have some of the qualities that the human mind has, such as the ability to understand language, recognize pictures, solve problems, and learn”.

History of AI 

The birth of AI goes back to the 1940s. Back then, researchers were slowly starting to understand how the human brain works. Alan Turing is oftentimes called the father of artificial intelligence and the father of computer science. During the Second World War, he saved over 14 million lives by cracking the enigma code. The enigma machine was used by Nazi Germany to protect military communication. By cracking the code, the Allies were able to defeat the Nazis. In 1950, Alan Turing introduced the Turing test, which is also known as the Imitation Game. In his paper, Turing states that one shouldn’t determine whether a machine is able to think but whether a machine can win the Imitation game. The test has three components: a computer, a human, and a human tester. The tester asks both the computer and the human a series of questions and needs to recognize which candidate is the computer. If the tester is not able to distinguish between the human and the computer, the computer has passed the test.  In the years after the invention of the Turing Test, the interest in AI fluctuated. Even though there were improvements throughout the decades, it wasn’t until the 1990s, that researchers finally started developing a greater interest in the AI research field. 

One shouldn’t be afraid of digitalization and of the changes that AI brings, but rather understand how these changes can improve our everyday lives. 

AI Today

Nowadays, AI has proven to be very helpful and is being used in various areas. As an example: Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are being used to categorize and analyze digitized historical visual sources. This means that researchers are now able to document human culture and society more easily. Another example is medical imaging, which has become crucial for the medical field over the last few years. Imaging was introduced in the 1970s and helps to increase the accuracy of diagnostics. Hereby, AI combines various X-ray measurements, that were taken from different angles beforehand, and puts them together in order to produce cross-sectional images. This improves the quality of these images which makes it easier for doctors to make more accurate diagnostics. Moreover, artificial intelligence is also used in online shopping or marketing, by personalizing people’s recommendations based on their previous search results or other online behavior.

Is AI Taking Over the World? 

Several experts have warned us about the development of artificial intelligence. Stephen Hawking raised concerns that artificial intelligence could end mankind. Similarly, Elon Musk said in an interview with students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that “I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful”. Coming back to the Turing test, so far, only one artificial intelligence was able to pass it, and even that is a controversy. I personally believe that artificial intelligence is an amazing opportunity. One shouldn’t be afraid of digitalization and of the changes that AI brings, but rather understand how these changes can improve our everyday lives.

In general, we should not be scared about artificial intelligence taking over the world. Why you may ask? Watch the following video and answer the question for yourself. Do you really think this artificial intelligence is superior?


Cover: Possessed Photography



Hope Baessler
Hope is currently living in the Netherlands, where she studies Communication Science.

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