First Snowfall and the Future of Artificial Intelligence

Version 2

QOTD: “A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human.” – Alan Turing

SOT: I’m posting here midday so I may come back and add to this. But today I woke up around 11 (I mean, it’s a Saturday) to the first snow of the winter in Chapel Hill. Missed my chance at taking a timelapse though since the snow began in the night. Saw a group of 9 deer outside as well, mom took pics.

I just finished up another coding program due today. Moving on the third quarter (beginning of second and final semester) in my CS class. Feels crazy how fast my final year of K12 is passing by. We’re going to start learning about Natural Language Processing artificial intelligence which I find to be an interesting emerging field. Most of us know of an NLP called Siri for iPhone and it was intriguing for me to read up on the first chatbot, ELIZA.

I think the QOTD is quite suitable for the ideas I’m about to discuss. Namely, that of artificial intelligence. It’s amazing how quickly the field is growing and the implications of the field itself whether it be programming a more capable Siri or personal AI assistant, more accurate/colloquial Google Translate, or AI technology that can assist in complex medical diagnoses. Add the rapid growth of AI to the widely-accepted trend of Moore’s Law that basically states that computers are essentially doubling their processing speed every two years. This is exciting on so many levels.

Data collection will become even faster, and with the advent of quantum computing, there may be a day when there is no limit to how much data/computing we can handle. This affects financial industries, how businesses function/make decisions, scientific research, everything. But while I’ve always been aware of how technology appears to be exponentially growing, I’ve also always wondered when exactly it will stop. I mean, there isn’t a threshold where technology one day stops and says, “Hey, I think we’ve done enough, let’s wrap this up.” Technology has no limits and will surely out-perform humans within the 21st century. Yes, this can be amazing on so many levels and I’m excited to see how it unfolds (assuming I can live to witness this Date/Tech/AI/Machine Revolution) but I can’t help but wonder about the adverse effects that his may bring.

I wonder how politics will be affected. I wonder how human expression will be affected (e.g., drama, art). I wonder how sports will be affected (AI can officiate games but human referees can do things AI can’t do right? Or what happens when AI’s play the games themselves?) I wonder if AI really will become out of control: There are already debates on who wins in a battle between Humans vs. AI and there have been numerous cases when AI’s have outsmarted/threatened humans or generally been perceived as “going too far” that they had to be “unplugged.” But what if AI can outsmart even their own kill-switch? Just take a look at this article on the postulation that AI WILL become the new species of the Earth. Sounds crazy, but totally plausible.

Besides the existential risk of AI, the next question that I think needs to be addressed is the ethics of AI itself. Do machines have their own rights as well and if so, how will this be incorporated into natural laws? Also, who decides these rights (politicians surely don’t think it terms of ethics themselves but rather those who pay them and lobby for them and those people have their own goals in mind)? Maybe I’m just thinking too negatively and maybe I’m just being cynical. But this is definitely coming faster than most of realize. We’re all in this lull of Apple and Google technologies. We’re too busy appreciating the tech now but really, the technologies we have now are still so clunky and antiquated relative to what’s to come. I don’t know why, but I can’t help draw an analogy to the post-war lull of the Roaring Twenties in which Americans thought they had everything and could buy everything with credit, only leading to the greatest economic downfall in our history.

Anyways, who really knows. AI can become the best thing to come and bring about the closest thing we’ve had to world peace. Or, it can become disastrous and essentially evolve into the new, most dominant “species.” Just think, AI is learning all that is knows from humans. Do you think that’s something to be proud of or something that is worrisome? I’ll leave that up to you. For now, I’m just going to enjoy the falling snow.


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