The digital age has opened the door to many inventions. New technologies are growing rapidly today and with them their application. But there are also those old inventions, unfulfilled dreams of many scientists, who rely on the possibility that this explosive growth in innovation opens the door to something that would fundamentally change everyday life. It is of course artificial intelligence (VI).
For years, popular culture (movies, comics) has introduced us to various depictions and personifications of VI, and developments in the film industry have only made it easier to show them on the big screen. Thus, science fiction can and does try to touch as much as possible the issues that have been the topic of debate for decades, the possibility of creating an artificial mind, a machine that works and, more importantly, reacts as a human being, that is, an intellectual being. The ethics of this endeavor have been the subject of controversy since it became an idea.
A few years ago, the secret of the British Secret Service was revealed, that during the Second World War they managed to break the German ENIGMA and thus shorten the war by at least two years and win. They achieved this primarily with the help of Alan Turing, a British mathematician, and decoder who found a way to make a computer that would solve a given problem, in this case, coded messages of the German navy by behaving like him and examining combinations until an exact solution is found. ENIGMA was considered invincible until this discovery. It is Turing who is considered the father of artificial intelligence.
Of course, making supercomputers in the middle of the 20th century was unimaginably difficult, considering that it was an incredibly "expensive sport". Only the most prestigious universities with the best computer labs had any chance because of funding.
In the '60s and early '70s of the XX century, this field is in a great development. The machines could store much more data, which was a prerequisite for VI. Scientists themselves have become more experienced, and they have better defined problem-solving algorithms and better determined which of the algorithms to apply to a particular problem. What particularly interested the financiers, at that time the government organization, was the recording and translation of the direct speech. Needless to say, this application was of immense value at the time, the Cold War, and the golden age of espionage.
After advances related to the algorithms themselves and the development of the machine in the form of memory and speed, as well as advances related to certain fields of application, VI stopped developing. Although with predictions that they are close to the development of the artificial mind, however, there was no end result.
In the absence of government investment, the field of artificial intelligence flourished at the end of the last century. Private IT companies have started to deal with this and the first result that will be remembered in history is the victory of IBM's Deep Blue in a chess game over Garry Kasparov, then the best chess player in the world, and is considered one of the best of all time. 2 games of 6 matches were played and those matches were very well covered by the media. This was an unprecedented shift in the development of artificial intelligence that opened the door to further success.
A word with many definitions, but here we are talking about machine intelligence, artificial. We are talking about computers, robots. Therefore, we must mention the Turing test. It is nothing but a test for computers with the aim of checking the intelligence of the computer, that is, whether the computer is intelligent (whether it thinks). The participants are a computer, a human examiner, and a person who helps the examiner. The examiner asks questions via the keyboard to which the computer and the other person answer. The examiner can ask whatever questions he wants and as many as he wants and the test is completed when the examiner assesses whether he is talking to the computer or not. The other person's goal is to help and direct the examiner to the correct answer, while the computer tries to deceive the examiner and convince him that he is human. So far, no computer has passed this test.
This field, in addition to answering many scientific, research, mathematical questions, but also one philosophical one. How we ourselves perceive human intelligence. What elements do machines need to be given in order to behave and "think" like a human being? Certain functions such as learning, understanding, problem-solving, perception, and language (speech) have emerged.
There are many divisions based on various criteria. Whether by the job for which they were designed, by the years when they were designed, or by the success they achieved, ie to what level they were developed.
So here we will use that last division into:
Machines with limited memory
Theory of mind
Jet machines - as their name suggests, react to the environment and the situation. What is interesting about them is that they do not have a memory of what they did before. Every action is purely reactive and focused on a given problem. In the case of a chess game, their condition on the first move is identical to that on the 20th move. Each subsequent move requires an analysis without memory of previous moves. It can neither form memories nor apply past experiences. He reacts to the world at a given moment as he sees it. Many scientists have stated that this is the furthest thing to go because everything beyond this is a violation of ethical principles.
Machines with limited memory - are just a few steps ahead of the previous group. They can create short-term memory that you use to perform certain tasks. Certain driverless cars use this system where they track the road, other drivers, their speed, and so on at the same time, but very limited. Such systems cannot gain experience like humans when driving. Although, although limited systems, they laid the foundation for later progress.
Theory of mind - the first two groups are the ones that exist, this and the next are the predictions, the goals of those who deal with the development of artificial intelligence. The theory of mind deviates from the first goal, designing a machine that will make complex decisions in a short time and perform complicated tasks, and move a step further. It moves towards what separates us from the rest of the living world, and that is a part of consciousness, that is, understanding others and their decisions, desires, etc. This is an area that is also studied by psychology, the need for a person to socialize, so it is appropriate that artificial intelligence systems strive for that level.
Consciousness - The last step on the journey from a computer that performs a complex task to an artificially created intellectual being is consciousness and what goes with it. Specifically, awareness of oneself, of one's existence, and understanding of one's own needs. This is considered to be the ultimate level.
The possibilities, as we have stated, are endless. And the controversy is about several segments. First and foremost, is VI a threat to humanity, and second, how will development reflect on the current situation and specifically the jobs we have today?
Many world entrepreneurs and IT experts, famous scientists have touched on this topic, with different opinions. So Elon Musk, one of the most successful entrepreneurs, and Stephen Hawking, a world-renowned astrophysicist, agree that if there is no control over the development of VI, there can be catastrophic consequences for humanity, to the limits we see in sci-fi movies like Terminator. Elon strives to create a controlled environment for VI development by establishing OpenAI, but also Neuralink in response to the potential lag of the human race behind VI-backed machines.
On the other hand, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg disagree with their findings and claim that this opinion is paranoid. They see infinite potential and support every kind of development of artificial intelligence. The epilogue of this discussion will show itself.
This is a topic for controversy and a topic that is skilfully avoided in the media. There is fear among workers that the emergence of VI will result in the loss of millions of jobs. It is cheaper for company owners to pay for a machine than for workers who have been paying for years, training, and who end up making mistakes. As in the previous case, we have two aspects of observation.
The first ones are optimistic. They believe that the emergence of VI can create more jobs than it would close. According to some people's estimates, up to 500,000 more occupations than it would shut down. This would mean opening schools to train and teach people to work with and with these highly intellectual machines. People would grow and learn with them and vice versa. According to them, there is no reason to worry.
On the other hand, as would be expected, pessimists fear that machines will take over jobs and thus erase certain occupations for people, and thus damage millions. VI is already applied in banking, in medicine, an incredible amount is invested in it due to the fear of lagging behind the world. Routine jobs could disappear altogether, such as workers in certain factories or workers at counters.
These machines would spend less, would be able to process a huge amount of data in real-time, would function more reliably than humans but could also repeat the same job over and over again without mental fatigue. Of course, applications have already been found that man could not do on his own, and help humanity, such as early detection of cancer and the like.
Aware of the problem, and that is the ignorance of people about the benefits of artificial intelligence, organizations appear everywhere that raise awareness about this world phenomenon. Every day there are new applications, new variations of algorithms that change reality, and VI slowly draws in all aspects of human functioning, facilitates it, and opens up new possibilities. City AI is an organization that involves cities around the world in an initiative to inform people about artificial intelligence.
One of them is certainly AI Novi Sad, which is organizing a lecture on this topic on Wednesday, January 31. You can read about it here, and how popular this topic is in our country is shown by the fact that all places for lectures are filled only a few days after the announcement.
This is a topic that touches every individual and we should not easily accept or reject this phenomenon, but we should study it carefully and, as in everything in life, find the right measure.