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Artificial Intelligence

Let us discuss the next leap forward for Humanity and Computing...
by Praveen Baratam
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The next big thing would be to use AI to help machines transcend into the real world not just as tools but as agents. Self driving cars are only the beginning. As of date machines are not agile, dexterous and smart enough to navigate our world and perform work in a general and extensible way.

Let me explain.

When computers first came about, they were made to perform calculations or a narrow set of tasks. Eventually they were used to communicate, visualize, entertain and do many more things relevant to normal people. Then came this inflection point when they became useful to a large demographic and their applications exploded.

Similarly, portable computing devices existed for as long as personal computers existed. Eg: Apple Newton, Palm, Windows CE, etc. But they did not appeal to a large enough population as their scope and capabilities were limited. Then came this inflection point when they, as a device / platform, became useful, interesting and full of potential.

Now it is the turn of Automatons as I would like to call them. Automatons are agile, dexterous and smart robots that are extensible both mechanically with tools/accessories and intellectually with skills.

They will be able to tend your farm / cook / wash dishes for you. They can feed your sick mother or follow your child to make sure he doesn't get hurt.

There will be a huge third-party ecosystem for mechanical accessories for these automatons and many people will be creating skills for them too. You can imagine the possibilities!

The next Apple/Microsoft/Google will create and control these automatons and the attached ecosystem.
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Should we fear AI?

AI in all its glory could evolve into a completely independent entity that can eclipse us as the apex predator on this planet or could just become more capable by the day but remain benign in its intentions towards us and stay in our service. The latter might seem beneficial to all of us but there are several gaps in this line of thought. Let me elaborate!

Even if AI remains at our service, will it be equally accessible to all of us? No! Those who create, employ and control such AI will benefit by marginalizing others!

Since the dawn of civilization, every individual depended on others for everything. Be it an emperor or a beggar, he is still dependent on others. Power means controlling 'people' and wealth implies one's ability to procure products and services from 'people'. This dependence is at the core of human civilization. With AI at one's disposal, one's machines will suffice for most of his needs and removing this dependence on people will marginalize most of us.

Eg. X owns land and AI machines. He can produce food or whatever and trade with others. Trade will remain but only between few. Similarly, Y owns an AI militia and he can exert control without depending on a single soul.

Ultimately the system will be comprised of people who own / control resources and AI. Only a few others will remain relevant in this future system.

How can we prevent this Neo-Feudal economy / system from happening? By requiring every form of AI (including underlying data) to be open by law, we can keep AI accessible to everyone and give them a fighting chance in the future economy!
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AI Robots - As Workforce or Infantry
Img: iRobot (Movie)
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After long incubation sri has made AI main stream, actually the credit goes to Steve Jobs for making AI used for end user by making a beautiful application in iPhone Siri.

First time AI is used on such a large scale end user application, its quite a good one to see the CALO project made into siri and the vision of Jobs to make it work.

http://www.sri.com/
http://www.apple.com/ios/siri/siri-faq/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siri_(software)
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4 Comments
 
Praveen Baratam, Maven - 5 years ago Edit
Siri is an exciting new technology, but how much AI made into Siri is a bit unclear. Well speech recognition needs learning one's style to be accurate. But coming to Natural Language Processing I doubt its just a clever matching algorithm inside.
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Varun Gautam, Contributor - 2 years ago Edit
Artificial Intelligence should be able to understand ART else it is not intelligence for this AI have to feel. Feel need to be alive or survive.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 2 years ago Edit
@Varun - Intelligence can come in many shapes and sizes. Are dolphins, orangutans, etc. intelligent? Yes! But not as intelligent as us humans. Even fish learn and adapt. So by definition, AI need not be as high and complex as human intelligence. That brings us to the interesting question of what constitutes intelligent behavior! It is very difficult to define intelligence objectively and I find the current definitions rather incomplete!
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Varun Gautam, Contributor - 2 years ago Edit
@Praveen First you are right, My standards for Intelligence were too high. "metacognition" can be a mark of Intelligence. I believe we till now can only teach how to think better and not able to program ability to think.
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Thought provoking documentary (BBC) about prospects and progress in the field of AI.
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The Hunt For Artificial Intelligence
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A very interesting talk about AI...

A little boring but the patient mind will be rewarded with the best insight into building AI
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Future of Robotics and AI
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 5 years ago Edit
Andrew rightly points out that AI need not be intrinsically complex but can achieve complex tasks by replicating, assembling and delegating itself. The underlying algorithm can be surprisingly simple!
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Manigandan Muthusamy, Evangelist - 5 years ago Edit
Praveen in the short term there will be more need for Assisted Intelligence than Artificial Intelligence, that is, the machine with the help of human and human with the help of machine gain insight
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Praveen Sri, Evangelist - 5 years ago Edit
I understand Mani! But even for that..... the approach being discussed is the best way forward. Rather than implementing complex logic its better to make something that can learn and organize itself.
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Praveen Sri, Evangelist - 5 years ago Edit
It would be complicated to imagine such logic but once we reach that point, we would be surprised how simple it finally is and why it took so long for us to reach that point...
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