Can Artificial intelligence (AI) and nanotechnology ‘threaten civilisation’? What will artificial intelligence mean for the world of work? These are among the many questions that have come up in recent times as AI research keeps growing and promises to play significant role in human civilisation.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence exhibited by machines or software. AI research is highly technical and specialized, and is deeply divided into subfields that often fail to communicate with each other.
“As of January 2015, as many as 170 startups were actively pursuing AI. Facebook has recruited some of the field’s brightest minds for a new AI research lab, and Google paid $400 million last year to acquire DeepMind, an AI firm. The question then becomes: Are software companies and venture capitalists courting disaster? Or are humankind’s most prominent geeks false prophets of end times?” Popular Science
Here is how some of the most popular technology giants invested in Ai in 2014(as gathered by Tom Simonite of Technology Revew). If the world will see AI in the world of work, it’s likely to be led by one of these giants.
1. Work in deep learning often focuses on images, which are easy for humans to understand but very difficult for software to decipher. Researchers at Facebook used that approach to make a system that can tell almost as well as a human whether two different photos depict the same person. Google showed off a system that can describe scenes using short sentences.
2. Results like these have led leading computing companies to compete fiercely for AI researchers. Google paid more than $600 million for a machine learning startup called DeepMind at the start of the year. When MIT Technology Reviewcaught up with the company’s founder, Demis Hassabis, later in the year, he explained how DeepMind’s work was shaped by groundbreaking research into the human brain.
3. The search company Baidu, nicknamed “China’s Google,” also spent big on artificial intelligence. It set up a lab in Silicon Valley to expand its existing research into deep learning, and to compete with Google and others for talent. Stanford AI researcher and onetime Google collaborator Andrew Ng was hired to lead that effort. In our feature-length profile, he explained how artificial intelligence could turn people who have never been on the Web into users of Baidu’s Web search and other services.
4. Microsoft drew on its research into speech recognition and language comprehension to create its virtual assistant Cortana, which is built into the mobile version of Windows. The app tries to enter a back-and-forth dialogue with people. That’s intended both to make it more endearing and to help it learn what went wrong when it makes a mistake.
5. Some of the most interesting applications of artificial intelligence came in health care. IBM is now close to seeing a version of its Jeopardy!-winning Watson software help cancer doctors use genomic data to choose personalized treatment plans for patients . Applying machine learning to a genetic database enabled one biotech company to invent a noninvasive test that prevents unnecessary surgery.
This year, IBM began producing a prototype brain-inspired chip it says could be used in large numbers to build a kind of supercomputer specialized for learning. A more compact neuromorphic chip, developed by General Motors and the Boeing-owned research lab HRL, took flight in a tiny drone aircraft.
All this rapid progress in artificial intelligence led some people to ponder the possible downsides and long-term implications of the technology. One software engineer who has since joined Google cautioned that our instincts about privacy must change now that machines can decipher images.