Recent success in the field of artificial intelligence indicates that machines could potentially and successfully analyze problems and solve them. What exactly does this mean for us as humans though? Generally speaking, this development indicates that the science-fiction scenario of machines is not as improbable as it once was.
Artificial intelligence, as a whole, could replace tasks, such as surgery, accounting, and even sports referees. Each program’s function could range from scanning documents, identifying economic trends, or even performing heart surgery, all at the most efficient rate, of course. Additionally, the benefit of artificial intelligence is that machines will never be shaken emotionally when faced with a seemingly impossible task. They will always return a precise, calculated response, and some have shown phenomenal results.
Take, for instance, the shocking loss of world renowned Go player Lee Sedol, who lost in March of 2016 against AlphaGo, a computer algorithm designed by Google. It was a defeat that was wholly unimaginable beforehand; in fact, even Lee Sedol himself claimed before the matches that he would easily beat the program 4-1 or 5-0. In the end, however, AlphaGo won games one, two, three, and five flawlessly, while Lee was able to scrape out a victory in game 4 after a single error on behalf of the program.
Initially, the prospect of a computer program beating a top human player in Go was not even considered, considering the complications and critical thinking that the game requires. In fact, there are more possible positions on a Go board than there are atoms in the universe. As a result, it is not only difficult to develop a flexible and adjustable algorithm, but it is nearly impossible to program something to react to an opponent and propose the best possible move. Comprehensively, though, artificial intelligence is still in development and is not as infallible as it can be, shown in the loss of AlphaGo to Lee in one of the games.
Daniel Kim, a high school student who engages in computer science, comments, “Personally, I think that in a couple decades, computers will dominate the job industry, especially in the stock market and factories. I’ve seen what correct coding and programming can do. A flawless and well developed line of code is essentially unstoppable.”
Self-driving cars are another striking example of the development of AI. Equipped with custom computer programs, lasers, radar, cameras, and electric batteries, Google’s self-driving car can drive anywhere with the push of a button. The car always knows what street and lane it’s on and can detect pedestrians, other cars, and foreign objects from up to two football fields away (Google Self-Driving Car Project). These cars can benefit society by decreasing automobile accidents and allowing people to do other things during commute time. The only downside to this innovation is that many taxi drivers, bus drivers, and others will lose jobs as more and more of these cars will be produced.
A third example of artificial intelligence presents itself in military technology. As it is now widely known, the U.S.military has and is continuing to use artificial intelligence in unmanned drones in order to conduct air strikes and attacks on militants in the Middle East. Additionally, the government has plans for the future that include ground bots, advanced pilot helmets with target tracking, and ground technology that organically identifies friendly soldiers and possible threats.
Looking forward, it is undeniable that many existing jobs will disappear with the implementation of artificial intelligence. Despite this daunting possibility, scientists and experts predict the rise of new jobs involving the development of this new technology and the implementation of further innovation. However, the issue arises when these jobs do not completely offset the number of jobs lost to machines. Only the future can tell.