Artificial Intelligence: The Future Of Mankind?

Dec 6, 2014 By Radhika
Radhika's picture

When someone begins speaking about robots taking over the world, most would label that person as a conspiracy theorist, or a sci-fi nerd.

Not many would think that such a sentiment would be voiced by a world renowned and highly reputed scientist like Dr. Stephen Hawking.

However, just this past week, Dr. Hawking explained his belief that artificial intelligence (AI) has a very real chance of surpassing human intelligence.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is the development of computer programs with similar abilities to human intelligence, such as voice recognition, speech, or decision-making. Whether you realize it or not, AI is all around us. From movie characters like R2-D2 to real-world examples like Siri, humans have imagined and—in many cases—created technology that has the abilities to perform human tasks.

When AI was first created, it was nowhere near as complex as it is today. In 1956, scientists and students attended a conference at Dartmouth College where they discussed the concept. At this conference, the term “artificial intelligence” was coined. The conference led to a boom in AI development, mostly occurring at Dartmouth.

Early AI programs used similar algorithms to accomplish tasks such as playing games or solving math problems. Today, almost 60 years later, AI has come a long way. For example, computers are now capable of beating humans at chess. In addition, you may have seen Watson defeat two Jeopardy! champions on television.

According to most computer scientists, this evolution in AI is inevitable. Moore’s Law—a well-known and highly regarded theory of computer development—predicts that computer speed and memory doubles every ten years. This exponential growth suggests that computer scientists are not slowing down their research any time soon.

Two Views Of The Future

With this increase in the capabilities of AI, many leading scientists hypothesize that AI will overtake human intelligence. From there, the question arises: What does this mean for the future of mankind?

According to Hawking, once the human advancement of technology reaches a certain threshold, computers will have the ability to evolve and develop on their own. And if computers are in control of their own evolution, they will certainly evolve faster than humans, who are limited by natural biological evolutio. They would eventually have more capabilities than even the humans that created them. Elon Musk, the CEO of the car company Tesla, strongly advocates that humans beware of the potential of artificial intelligence. He even went as far as to say that AI could be “potentially more dangerous than nukes.”

But not everyone is so negative with regard to the effect of highly developed technology on humans. Some computer scientists believe that AI can be a good thing. Charlie Ortiz, at the software company Nuance Communication, feels that increased AI might be useful to solve current problems that human intelligence cannot. There is no reason to assume that AI will work to harm us even if it becomes more complex than human intelligence.

Critical Thinking: What do you think - could AI spell the end of the human race if machines become smarter than humans?

Comments

Wintrode54's picture
Wintrode54 January 21, 2018 - 3:40pm

I like the idea of tying Moore's Law into a discussion of exponential growth, and the implications for the speed of computers in our students' middle age.

Samanvitha's picture
Samanvitha March 21, 2016 - 6:04pm
Well, IT might not happen unless we have the right amount of intellagence.
Aditya08's picture
Aditya08 March 21, 2016 - 3:36pm
Have you watched 2001: A Space Odyssey. The robot tries to take over the ship. It's extremely creepy.
estherp's picture
estherp February 25, 2015 - 6:11am

Wow the is crazy cool

jacobb9's picture
jacobb9 February 3, 2015 - 7:19am
I think that while AI might be very dangerous it is also very helpful for the disabled and we might even be able to use it to let blind people see and deaf people hear. So I say continue evolving artificial intelligence!
rahuln's picture
rahuln January 21, 2015 - 6:58am

AI is good and bad. The good news about it is that you might have a robot to clean up your room and do chores. The bad news is that if there are robots for the police then the robots may get hacked and hurt innocent people.

joshuar4's picture
joshuar4 January 15, 2015 - 9:38am

Cool

joshuar4's picture
joshuar4 January 14, 2015 - 9:29am

The future of mankind rocks

cassiew's picture
cassiew December 31, 2014 - 2:40pm
WOW this is crazy and cool
El-Miracle Akpan's picture
El-Miracle Akpan December 19, 2014 - 9:28am

Interesting article;though AI is able to store knowledge and work programs,it is essential to watch the amount of knowledge & information we program into them so what we plan on doing good won't backfire in the future.

Tressa's picture
Tressa December 18, 2014 - 4:52pm

There are SOOO many different possibilities that could accumulate here. I don't even know what to think about it. (O.o)

aideng's picture
aideng December 17, 2014 - 3:58pm

cool

daniels2's picture
daniels2 December 17, 2014 - 11:35am

nice

Tryn28's picture
Tryn28 December 17, 2014 - 9:06am

maybe an OVERRIDE? like, hello people, we're in charge here. try reading "I, robot" by isaac asimov and maybe get some ideas?

Sindhu's picture
Sindhu December 15, 2014 - 3:57am

I don't think machines can overtake mankind unless they have emotions...which they don't.

laureng5's picture
laureng5 December 14, 2014 - 8:14pm

And I'm also think that it is really cool that there make more ways for the disabilities to do things

laureng5's picture
laureng5 December 14, 2014 - 8:12pm

Cool I think it is cool that some people help the people that has disabilities and I know it is very hard for then to do it all by there selfs and that's why they need help

mini jackseptickye's picture
mini jackseptickye December 12, 2014 - 1:42pm

thats like star wars

gapaley's picture
gapaley December 12, 2014 - 12:11pm

cool

PacMan512's picture
PacMan512 December 11, 2014 - 8:49pm

How stupid. It probably is possible, but what would happen to us? Robots would take over...the possibilities are endless.

PeterH13's picture
PeterH13 December 10, 2014 - 12:06pm

I think it sounds silly but it could present a problem

oliviak2's picture
oliviak2 December 9, 2014 - 3:37pm

i don't think Al will harm us but people should be careful about how much information we put into him

saumyak's picture
saumyak December 9, 2014 - 1:52pm

wow! pretty cool

sofiam3's picture
sofiam3 December 8, 2014 - 5:05pm

this is an interesting article.

Zcat's picture
Zcat December 8, 2014 - 4:05pm

I wonder what Stephen Hawking thinks about that?

sophiar3's picture
sophiar3 December 8, 2014 - 12:02pm

cool

Tryn28's picture
Tryn28 December 8, 2014 - 11:13am

I don't think so. AI while able to store knowledge and work programs, cannot of its own volition rebel. because it is not a person. it is a computer, sending electric signals to make something on a screen appear or play a sound.