Artificial intelligence (AI) is something that began with stories and myths about artificial beings created by master craftsmen and given intelligence and consciousness. The first developments of AI were in the form of symbols, which people tried to use to describe the process of human thinking. This work culminated in the invention of the programmable digital computer in the 1940s, and inspired a handful of scientists to begin seriously discussing the possibility of building an electronic brain. Recently, developments in AI are growing at an increasingly quick pace. Breakthroughs like the latest victory by Google's DeepMind, make artificial beings, like Ava from Ex Machina, seem to be possible in the near future.
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People have their doubts about artificial intelligence and they aren't wrong: a hostile robot takeover is a very frightening threat. But that is also why researchers are already working on robots that conform to the behavioural structure laid out, over 70 years ago. Science fiction writer Issac Asimov came up with a solution that remains top of mind for many AI developers: the Three Laws of Robotics.
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the first law.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second laws.
Currently many people are working on AI projects to help with their daily processes. For example, at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, researchers have developed an AI receptionist that looks fully human at first glance. It can perform social interactions such as shake hands, make eye contact and respond to simple queries. Closer to home, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is developing a simple AI to help run his home and help with his work — he likens it to JARVIS, Tony Stark’s intelligent robot butler in the “Iron Man” films.
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AI will eventually make entry-level jobs obsolete - but lead to a basic income for all. Some people believe that in the future, there will be a constant increase in the number of people working in the "gig-economy", where companies will contract individuals to perform tasks and work on short-term projects. As Nick Heath from TechRepublic explains, "young people will bear the brunt of AI-fuelled job losses as smart systems undercut entry-level roles in everything from marketing to retail...This shift away from steady employment and income could see governments assume a greater role in preventing individuals from slipping into poverty." Microsoft's chief envisioning officer Dave Coplin, expressed frustration at talk of technology destroying jobs, pointing out that technology generally complements human labor, rather than replaces it.
Development won’t precipitate the panic-inducing nightmares of fantastic robot stories, but AI that’s tasked with too much, too soon or compromised by malicious actors could mean big problems for corporations. We need to think of AI like we do IoT: A bigger attack surface means bigger problems and demands higher priority on the IT security list. The base line for artificial intelligence is that the technology is here to augment what we do, rather than take over - it's only here to make our lives easier and to help shape our future for the next generations to come.