Prologue: This is a special segment curated by Ionizer where we ask an open question to the community and represent the best responses we get in the form of an article. This helps us obtain a variety of opinions and beliefs surrounding some of the most intriguing aspects of modern technology. This article highlights how people perceive scientific concepts in addition to what scientists say.The responses for this particular article have been collected from Facebook (Ionizer’s Page) and Reddit (r/futurology).
Artificial Intelligence systems are bringing about unprecedented changes to our devices, our lifestyle, and the way we solve complex problems. We are slowly inching towards a more autonomous society where our computers would not just compute a given set of data but derive decisions out of it. This is because they will be intelligent enough to do so (we don’t know if they’ll be wise too). As of now, AI is capable of recognizing our faces to unlock our phones, beat us in brainy games like Alpha Go, and do a lot of stuff that might take our jobs from us in the coming future (for our good though).
As evident, AI can be implemented at a great number of places that are totally different from each other. The same fact gave rise to the question that;
If you had the resources and the technology to build an advanced Artificial Intelligence system, what could be that one purpose that you would use it to resolve?
We received some really interesting answers, that are worth your attention. You must bear in mind that the question is asked in a hypothetical sense and invites imaginative answers rather than accurate explanations.
The first one comes from a comment on Ionizer’s Facebook post.
“To do everything for me just by asking like “turn on the kitchen light,” “where are my glasses?,” “start my car,” “turn on the television to channel 25,” “answer the door and let me know who’s there,” “do my laundry & ironing,” “vacuum the floor and clean the house,” “when is my dentist appointment, and how long will it take me to get there?.” “is it going to rain?” etc. Interestingly, we already have all the technology to do just about anything we want. The only fear is whether we can survive it. Will we become so dependent on technology that it will ultimately destroy us?”
Although the person wants to take Home Automation to the next level, you can clearly see the doubt, or rather the fear of such an advancement, prevalent in the comment. Keeping that aside, AI is sure going to automate our homes to great extents. Google Home Assistant, Amazon Echo, and Siri are rapidly going from being mere talk-back machines to full-blown virtual assistants that comprehend our commands using embedded AI systems. We’d have to still wait for ironing, laundry and vacuuming to be done by these assistants, but yes, Google Home may now control the lighting of your home using voice commands.
Moving on, a Redditor talked of a seemingly distant future saying that,
“I want to eventually achieve a fully autonomous society, with fully autonomous economy and politics, giant AI systems would be needed in order to achieve this, but I think it could theoretically be done. The results could be a working communistic, yet democratic system, where all goods are available for free and one could do whatever he likes. The massive problems to be solved before that is ofc the potentials of ai systems aside with questions about trust for an AI to run a country, with safety issues etc. It’s a thought for the far far future.”
Why not? After automating our homes AI will eventually automate our economies, our politics and our society. Once this takes place, we’d no longer need to buy things, instead, they’d be available as a service to us. This is how most of the AI systems work today. In a recent article published at Futurism, Welcome to 2030: I Own Nothing, Have No Privacy and Life Has Never Been Better, the same concept has been elaborately explained via a short story in which a man shows around the 2030 world where everything is delivered to him whenever he needs it, ranging from a cab to even a pasta-maker. The scenario accurately describes how a fully autonomous society would look like and how life will change with it.
We might still like to keep things like polity in our hands until we discover a way to make our machines conscious and rational enough to govern an entire nation.
Talking of governance, our next participant outlined a great idea to introduce AI that could solve societal problems. It goes like this;
“I’d use it to quietly and effectively enhance the world.
Making sudden and bold changes would only destabilize governments and cause mass panic or power struggles. Change is needed but some people cannot adapt to it as quickly as others.
Firstly I’d set the AI to come up with a complex plan on how to start collecting data on all the latest trends and breakthroughs. Possibly by setting up a website where people could ask questions and request help for all kinds of projects and get the AI to answer questions whilst also gaining more data and suggestions.
I would not advertise that the answers are coming from a machine and would allow others to answer questions as well. As all of this data would be vital towards the AI coming up with new answers or even questions.”
Exposing an AI system described above, to the general public would provide it with the necessary storehouse of data it needs to make proper decisions.
The idea is further explained with a real-life example,
“For example perhaps there’s problem with homelessness in an area and the AI identifies that there’s a strong chance of a shortage of food in another area, which has also been identified by a government or council.
The AI identifies a solution which involves autonomous farming but it also needs the resources required to manufacture and build this. There could be a recycling method it can utilize in another area that has a problem with waste management.
It might perhaps communicate to the area with the waste problem that it will cheaply remove the waste and the government with the food shortage needs only pay for a certain amount of effort to raise the required funds for transport and processing of waste. The end result is the homeless people are employed.
Training is provided using methods that the AI has identified and it can support and engage with the workers in real time using existing infrastructure such as phones. Think of it as an Uber for all jobs. You get prepped in a few days using training software and perhaps some brand new methods that the AI has found, and then you head to your job whilst also getting constant support and guidance from the App.
It does all this using its global solution map whilst keeping it updated in real time with new and improved ways to do things.
So you end up with jobs being provided for the homeless in an efficient way, a problem has been solved that was potentially harmful and you’re reducing waste.”
Although the idea uses a plenty of “ifs” and “perhaps”, it has a strong concept to it. AI’s major role in a system is to provide a well-comprehended logical interpretation of the problem and as it grows more robust, it would be able to offer solutions to societal issues as well. The complexity of problems will be high but it won’t be something that AI can’t handle. This takes our trail of “uses of AI” from Home Automation to Societal Automation.
The next Facebook comment poses to challenge our perception of reality.
“I think I’ll give all history books in the world and let it (an AI system) compare and study what is true among them”
If an AI was given to read, every book that existed in the history of mankind, it will be rather interesting to see what kind of personality it develops or how it tries to decipher facts from fiction. What do you think it will do?
In this discussion, the responses talked about problem solving in majority, starting from our homes and going out to the whole world. Our participants showcased a firm belief in using the AI for positive developments and many are eager to use it to find solutions to real life issues.
The negative aspect of AI, such depicted in another article, Stephen Hawking Believes Humankind Is in Danger of Self-Destruction Due to AI, also prevail among the masses for all the correct reasons but did not appear much in this discussion. We can draw a conclusion that the best use of AI will revolve around generating a general good for the society, no matter how it is implemented. This is concurrent to the concept that Artificial Intelligence will be a true revolution and it will be the revolution we need, rather than something that we should be afraid of.
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