AI today is a topic of conversation, a subject for corporate presentations, a space for technological debates; in general, a term uttered by many who are familiar with a machine. AI is a concept that is being adopted by many sectors; indeed the latest and hottest buzz word in the world of technology.
However, the fact is Artificial Intelligence has remained in the nascent stage of development for quite a while. When one hears the word `artificial intelligence’ the visuals of different characters from science fiction come to mind. What was a mythical concept of time travel or spacecraft with extra-terrestrial creatures is not considered a futuristic science anymore? Though still primitive in form, AI can solve unique business problems, provided one knows and decides how to leverage the technology to its potential.
James Goodnight, Co-Founder and CEO of SAS says: `AI is certainly being hyped as another buzzword, and there are many companies rushing to jump on the AI bandwagon’. Despite the hype, AI is a significant emerging technology that will continue to grow in importance. Years ago the term `cloning’ became very popular; and in course of time, was included in the general context and usage, where anything which is replicated was described as `cloned’. Dolly, the sheep (the first mammal cloned from an adult somatic cell) became a widely talked about subject. Along the same lines, people have started using AI to describe any analytics problem, be it faulty equipment or credit card fraud. The catchword now is AI, and Sophia, the Robot has replaced Dolly sheep. With everyone using the buzzword AI, one needs to see whether reality aligns with this hype.
There is so much information on the internet stored in the last few years. Wall Street Journal recently stated that the internet is filling up with good morning messages, and largely by Indians, many of whom are yet new users of the internet! On a more serious note, there are huge quantities of data collected and stored in the recent times. Almost all information is online and accessible to net browsers. A tool to statistically filter, analyze and process large data sets, not merely as a process but with intelligence, is the primary need of industries, investors, for that matter, any establishment across sectors and geographies. A growing technology like AI can unlock the value of data, and eventually help transform businesses, industries, and above all, people’s experiences. It is no surprise that AI being such a powerful concept has become not just a household term, but a word across the technology world.
Though the research in Artificial Intelligence dates back to the 1940s, it is only around the 1980s that AI progressed from research to application. In recent years, however, interest in the field of artificial intelligence has sky-rocketed as evidenced by the amount of funding invested in researching and adopting it.
To go back to sci-fi, we have seen in many robots featuring stories about how the machine ultimately overpowers the man to the point of bringing about total annihilation. This threat could be as real as the creation of artificially intelligent robots. Well, known personalities like physicist Stephen Hawking and Tesla CEO Elon Musk have been stressing on the importance of regulating artificial intelligence.
There is merit in the thought that AI technology will help society in a range of areas like transportation, education, health, manufacturing, retail, arts, medicine and so on. It can be a danger though if used to build weaponry. Leaders across the world have found this worrisome, even terrifying.
One has to admit, turning a buzzword into business is exciting, but like communications specialist Lindsay Kwan says: The danger of artificial intelligence is that we can both overestimate its power today and underestimate its capabilities tomorrow.
Which, between the two, is riskier, is a matter of conjecture.