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Between Artificial Intelligence and Humanity


Rest in peace, you genius. (Pic Source: http://www.risefeed.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/tumblr_n57nzzgZwf1tash9io1_500.jpg)

Just the other day I was having a conversation with my friend on the topic of artificial intelligence. He is of the opinion that AI will eventually take all our jobs and this will lead to a major revolution in 21st century. Now there's a lot going in the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The hype is just tremendous with everyone trying to get on the AI train to reap profits and benefits from it. From humanoids implementing concepts of neural networks and deep learning to interact with humans to nanobots that cure cancer to algorithms that analyze your online behavior and manipulate you into buying that limited edition,'just-one-left-in-stock' inflated Pikachu doll, the possibilities are just endless and crazy.

However, there are mixed opinions regarding the benefits or the dangers of this rapid technological advancements.

People are out there claiming AI will eventually take all our jobs and we will all be in terrible misery, starving for food and bursting bubble wraps till eternity. Some are event blatant enough to preach that AI will eventually be the end of humanity. Now this may seem a rather exaggerated opinion but we're still unsure as to what future has in store for us.

Well, I'm no expert in the field of AI but I do love technology and I'm fascinated by it. The world is currently dominated by rapidly evolving technology with artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data (data science), cloud computing, cyber-security and whatnot.

The thing about current innovation in the field of AI is that it is very focused and rather narrow minded. It fails to look at things from a broader perspective. We have pre-determined tasks that we need the bots to do for us. Be it AlphaGo or self-driving cars. We already know the end goal that needs to be achieved. AI treats everything like a game. Give it a dataset, explain the rules to it and Bam! It'll just solve your problem for you. But what about the cases where the end goal is pretty unpredictable and the rules are quite ambiguous. Like for instance understanding the complexity of human behavior (philosophical or psychological) and what drives them towards the things they do. Or perhaps solving major socio-economic, political and environmental problems and crises faced by many countries of the world. It's here that AI still hasn't made any significant progress and still has a lot to learn.

I believe that humans are made for something much more interesting than getting up everyday and showing up at work to do some mentally degrading job or tedious manual labour. Our supreme intellect combined with empathy and the power to communicate effectively has always been our strength and the driving force behind our progress as a civilization. The best thing about AI will be that it will eventually take care of the laborious work which we find dull and tiresome. Unpleasant work that depresses us and makes us feel like slaves. Work that makes us wonder, "Should I go to work or should I rather just kill myself?"

It may sound rather cynical but slavery isn't going away anywhere. It never has. It's the vital cog that has run our corporations, societies and governments since aeons. However, it's about time that we replace human beings with these smart and emotionally unfeeling robots to get all our dreadfully repetitive and monotonous shit done for us. I like to think of AI as our ultimate saviour. The picture that comes in my mind is of a computer dressed as Superman which feeds on extensive data and predicts solutions to solve our petty problems in minutes. It'll provide us with all the precious time in the world so that we could utilize it for research purposes and come up with innovative and exciting ideas for the betterment of our civilization as a whole. AI won't take our jobs. It might just enhance them! And for me, that's the greatest strength of AI. That being said, when it comes to thinking in a broader sense of things and to look at the bigger picture, there's no substitute for core human skills like creativity, curiosity, imagination and innovative thinking. Go ahead, you can call me old fashioned or just a romantically absurd idealist but I believe that there still isn't any algorithm that can perfectly emulate the basic yet necessary human values like compassion and love for fellow beings.

Welcome to the club, pal. (Source: https://media.giphy.com/media/DyO961yNvBz3i/200w_d.gif)
So, you may now ask, what will be the future of humanity in a world of AI and machine learning? Will robots and humans co-exist peacefully? For me, I'm a fan of the legendary Darwin and his theory of evolution. We've always learnt to adapt to changing times and evolve accordingly and perhaps we will learn this time too. We might just adapt ourselves or we might just perish away. Either way, it's surely going to be a helluva exciting time in near future. I would like to end this with the words of one of my favorite and probably the greatest science fiction writer of all time, Issac Asimov.

“Any technological advance can be dangerous. Fire was dangerous from the start, and so (even more so) was speech - and both are still dangerous to this day - but human beings would not be human without them.”

Let me know your opinions below and thank you for reading! Adios, until next time!
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Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

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