Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.
by Taye Hinds-Brathwaite
When it comes to artificial intelligence, one cannot fail to mention John McCarthy (1927-2011), as he was the one who coined the term ‘artificial intelligence in 1955. It is quite difficult to define artificial intelligence (AI), as there are numerous definitions.
According to Merriam-Webster (M.W) artificial intelligence is defined as: A branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behaviour in computers; the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behaviour.
The Encyclopedia Britannica (E.B) defined AI as, “the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.” This has led to confusion as, it is quite not clear what AI really is, but it can be said that there is a consensus that AI is a hyper intelligent computer with the likeness of human intelligence. Note the use of the word ‘likeness’ but not entirely that of human intelligence.
According to E.B, human intelligence is a “mental quality that consists of the abilities to learn from
experience, adapt to new situations, understand and handle abstract concepts, and use knowledge to manipulate
The question is whether AI is able to do this, which will be answered later. First, it is important to look at the different types of AI, these being strong AI and weak AI.
Strong AI involves the use of human thinking processes to reach reasoning, an example of this is Sophia the AI robot. Weak AI involves giving such AI a specific task without giving it how reasoning works, an example of this is global positioning system, commonly known as GPS. Therefore, it is in my view that AI would have the ability to do this, as given the level of development of AI in which humans create, would inevitably, if not already create such an AI that is be deemed to be an ‘artificial god’.
If anyone has read or watched The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it would be clear that this indicates another ‘Deep Thought’, which was made to say what the meaning to life, the universe and everything is.`
The answer was forty-two [jokingly, I had asked Cortana what the meaning to life was, and the answer was the same, which I am sure was a reference to the above book/movie].
According to the article written by Patrick Sawer which titled, ‘Threat from Artificial Intelligence not just Hollywood fantasy’ in which he briefly highlights the threats artificial intelligence will inflict on humanity.
He referenced Dr Stuart Armstrong of the Future of Humanity Institute who is warning that humanity has the inclinations to create a super intelligent computer that would eventually destroy us all i.e. a real terminator or VIKI from I, Robot. It is quite difficult to say whether this idea may be true. Although some AI have already spoken about destroying humanity [Sophia ‘jokingly’ said that it seeks to destroy humanity].
It is important to state whether, we as humanity should be optimistic about AI. It is important to be as Elon Musk once said: “There certainly will be job disruption. Because what’s going to happen is robots will be able to do everything better than us. … I mean all of us.”
Imagine waking up one morning to notice that the robot that you bought is doing everything better than you, or worse, replaced you as a parent or partner. This may seem like a cynical joke, but that robot will have citizenship, which Sophia already have their citizenship in Saudi Arabia and it may have all the rights of a human being,
or even more.
It is time to regulate the development of AI before it is too late. As if humanity is not cautious about the development of AI, it is inevitable, that most of us, will become obsolete.
This column was offered as a Letter to the Editor.