My parents speak with awe at the advances being made as reality overtakes the Star Trek technologies that they once dreamed about. For me, there is nothing surprising or impressive about the fact that I carry the computing power that sent a man to the moon in my jeans pocket.
They witter on about the transformation of computers from ultra-rapid calculators to machinery that can autonomously drive cars, instantaneously translate between almost any language and undertake increasingly complex human tasks. They wonder at a world of instant and global connectivity; at computers that can defeat humans at chess, Jeopardy! I take Siri for granted.
Yet my generation is about to see a similar transformative technology which will literally change everything. Artificial Intelligence is likely to take us into a similar unrecognizable era of unimagined innovation and social upheaval.
This is the most recent and most daunting technological advance. So here are few interesting and important facts for you to get your head around:
- Most AI is female: Studies show that most people prefer the sound of a female voice to that of a male (think of Siri!). Also, most AI is worked on by straight men who are more attracted to the female voice.
- AI pets exist: These AI powered pets remove the downsides of having a pet e.g. have to clean up after them. Few AI driven pets exist but they are thought to become widely available by 2025.
- Much like humans, AI are not just temples of knowledge but they are able to socialise and simulate emotions: Kismet, a robot built in the late 1990’s can recognise emotions through human body language and the tone of voice.
- AI can repair itself: There is a robot that rebuilt itself after noticing its performance had dropped after losing 2 of its 6 legs. The robot did not know what the problem was but fixed it by trial and error.
- AI will become smarter than humans: AI has the ability to learn, meaning its intelligence is increasing (in 2013 AI was about the same intelligence as a 4 year old). It is thought that by 2029 AI will have the same intelligence level as adult humans.
- In the next decade, AI is thought to replace 16% of jobs: This is due to their increasing intelligence, meaning they can be more helpful in working industries, than humans.
- Humans can develop romantic relationships with AI: A university student, David Levy, believes that by 2050 marriages between humans and robots will be made legal. At the moment robots are not advanced enough for this to be the case.
- AI has the ability to write: There has already been a robot who wrote an article on an earthquake in California on the Los Angeles Times Website which was brought together by the robot collecting data from a seismograph.
- AI will likely lead to the end of human customer service: 85% of customer interactions are thought to not require human customer service anymore, by the end of this decade.
- And finally, It will be possible for customer digital assistants to recognise people by face and voice: As early as by the end of 2018, it is thought that robotic assistants will be able to carry out facial recognition as well as voice recognition.