Interesting Reads

I am fascinated with AI and it’s possibilities!

I’ve been so interested in Artificial Intelligence. And I’ve wanted for the longest time possible to write something about it. Something that I hope will kick-start your research and reasoning on the same topic. Something I hope will be but a debut on my part in this field. Initially this was to be a simple post on a movie I’ve just finished watching. But what the hell.

What really inspired me to want to know more about AI is not, surprisingly, my course in University. I am pursuing a Bachelors in Science Informatics but the mandatory Artificial Intelligence Course/Unit found me already deeply fascinated with the topic. I don’t want to say it wasn’t well taught.

I don’t code. I don’t build programs. I don’t make algorithms. Not because I don’t know how to (oh yeah I do/Can learn to) but rather because I haven’t ever found it particularly enjoyable. No seriously. In the sort of that’s-not-my-thing way. Next year I’ll be in my fourth year of university and I’ll be expected to do a final project. I’ll have to write codes here and there. But I guess my enthralment with certain topics (like this one) will slowly lure me into different places.

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Artificial Intelligence
Imagine the possibilities of a conscious computer

What first captured my mind in the field of AI wasn’t a robot. We tend to picture robots when thinking of AI. And I have had one too many arguments, even in school, about this. I ‘lost’ the arguments because majority always wins. Ha!

What is Artificial Intelligence?

So let’s clear things up. First, stop thinking of robots. A robot is a container for AI, sometimes mimicking the human form, sometimes not—but the AI itself is the computer inside the robot. AI is the brain, and the robot is its body—if it even has a body. For example, the software and data behind Siri is AI, the woman’s voice we hear is a personification of that AI, and there’s no robot involved at all. – Tim Urban,

Artificial Intelligence refers to the mad-made capacity of mind or thought that makes something able to understand truths and facts, acquire knowledge, learn and comprehend and even make decisions.

So AI isn’t necessarily found only in Robots or Smart cars or machines that can detect diseases and the like. AI is everywhere. Your Smartphone uses AI in certain ways. Your social network uses AI. So many things in this current world employ use of AI. Artificial Intelligence is like software kind of finding home in hardware.

What really got me into AI was the way a launcher on my phone would learn what apps I need at what time. The way Facebook would know which friends’ posts I would love to see first. The way Google would personalise my search content and Ads. The way Twitter would tailor stuff based on what I view. Plus most recently, the way Google Photos is unbelievably brilliant!

Now. I was talking to someone about the smartness of Google Photos. Can you imagine that app! She was going all mad about how she uses it to check out her pics of shoes.
When you sync your photos to the cloud, Google Photos reads all of them and arranges them according to buildings, shoes, cats, dogs, cars, skies, sunsets, roads… anything! But that might not be exciting yet. What shocked me a few days ago was when it could recognise a close building and differentiate it from a faraway building. How it tried so hard to differentiate sun rise from sunset! Now imagine how soon it will be able to identify your face from a selfie with friends! That mightn’t amaze many though.

Find time and watch this video on Machine learning:

All these listed above scenarios in one way or the other fall in the extensive (and currently unimaginable) field of AI.

On, one of my favourite sites, Tim has really broken down AI and theories of what makes us us. He is also one of the people whose posts always force me to want to know more about AI. To want to understand. You can read his posts and you’ll understand everything better:

I am not trying to re-do his pieces. I’m just borrowing from him to make my point. So that I can have a reference post in future (for my readers) when writing on stuff that touches on Intelligence. And most importantly so as to be able to write my movie review in the end.

Tim broke down AI into 3:

  • Narrow AI
  • General AI
  • Super AI

Narrow AI is basically what we have now. Just simple intelligent programs that are specialised at single things. They are largely better than human beings at doing one thing but when compared to the over-all intelligence of human beings, they fall back. We use narrow AI in very many algorithms in our lives. For example your email, phone’s fingerprint sensor, your smart TV, Google Search, or even that smart program that helps lawyers gather data on all information relating to the case.

General AI will be achieved when machines can be intelligent enough to think and reason to the level of human beings. How this will be achieved I don’t know. But on the posts above (read them extensively) Tim has given us the various methods that could lead to that.

Super AI now is unexplainable. Think of a machine that can think and understand and reason like a human being. But not just that. Now think of that machine being connected to a library of all the books ever written. Think of that machine being able to connect to the internet. Think of it being able to learn faster than any human being. When General AI is achieved, it will be a matter of seconds or minutes before we have on earth a machine that knows everything human beings have ever known!

Nick Bostrom defines superintelligence as “an intellect that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills.”

This machine will most likely be able to do everything we’ve previously thought undoable. Wow! And we’re on the brink of such possibility! Don’t believe it? If Elon Musk is going to Mars in his lifetime…

As I write my review of the movie, which will be a continuation of this post, read the posts from Tim and watch the embedded video and try and guess which movie I will be reviewing. It is a 2015 movie.

Update: Here’s the review and a question: can we live forever?


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