Today’s technology is built on what was considered fiction in the past. And one such immensely interesting technology that was a part of fiction stories until recently is that of Robots or intelligent machines that can think, feel and learn just like humans.
Many writers shot to fame writing fictions about robots and machines with feelings and emotions just like human beings. These work of fiction often left us awestruck, dreaming of the day when we have real robots just like in those stories. There may still be some time left before we see actual robots at our beck and call but we definitely have come a long way from responsive machines in fiction books to use them in our daily lives. And that day has really come and we now commonly know it as AI
Until a few decades ago, Artificial Intelligence (AI) was a part of science fiction novels. But now it has become a part of our lives. Best example is our friend Siri, the intelligent personal assistant that answers our questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of Web services. Apart from that there are various other AI technologies for weather forecasts, email spam filtering, Google’s search predictions, and voice recognition. These technologies have machine-learning algorithms that enable them to react and respond in real time. Let’s have a look at how AI transformed or evolved from being fiction to reality.
The Journey of Evolution of Artificial Intelligence
I am a big fan of science fiction. I have grown up enjoying both reading and watching a big number of fiction stories. Some stories about time travel or human look alike robots. In today’s world of technology, however, these fantastic characters of books and movies are coming alive in the real world.
The fascination of science fiction has its traces way back in ancient Greek, Egyptians and Chinese mythology. The ancient Greeks had myths about robots, and Chinese and Egyptian engineers built automatons. Since then many creative thinkers have tried to understand and visualize about AI either in the form of fictional stories of scientific experiment. It was however, only in the mid of twentieth century that technological revolution took off and AI took its first steps from fiction to conceivable reality.
Alan Turing, British mathematician and WWII code-breaker, is widely credited as being one of the first people to come up with the idea of machines that think in 1950. He even created the Turing test, which is used, as a benchmark to determine a machine’s ability to “think” like a human.
It was in 1956 that the term ‘artificial intelligence’ was coined at a conference at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire. In 1959, American scientist Marvin Minsky co-founded the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AI laboratory for research in the field of AI. He was one of the leading thinkers in the field through the 1960s and 1970s. From mid-1974 to late 1996 research and work into Artificial Intelligence saw some down time.
Work in AI picked up its pace when in 1997 IBM’s Deep Blue became the first computer to beat a chess champion when it defeated Russian grandmaster Garry Kasparov. And in 2011, the computer giant’s question-answering system Watson won the quiz show “Jeopardy!” by beating reigning champions Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings. From then on, it has been a glorious time for AI with many accomplishment & inventions in this field.
The Future of AI
The field of artificial intelligence is, indeed, making breath-taking advances. In particular, it is contributing to the automation of data analysis. Artificial intelligence is no longer programmed line by line, but is now capable of learning, thereby continuously developing itself. Recently, Google’s DeepMind algorithm taught itself how to win 49 Atari games. Algorithms can now recognize handwritten language and patterns almost as well as humans and even complete some tasks better than them. They are able to describe the contents of photos and videos. Today 70% of all financial transactions are performed by algorithms. News content is, in part, automatically generated.
It cannot be denied however, that along with being extremely beneficial, AI has the potential to do great harm. Experts like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawkings, Bill Gates and Steve Wozniak, are warning that super-intelligence is a serious danger for humanity if not handled responsibly. It is therefore imperative that we do extensive research to help us better prepare for and prevent potentially negative consequences in the future, to enjoy the benefits of AI without the pitfalls.