Ex- Machina, iRobot, and The Terminator are movies that all have one thing in common — robots. But not just any robot. We are talking about specifically designed computer software, or commonly known as artificial intelligence (AI), able to think, talk, and more importantly rise up and overpower us tiny humans.
Growing up and watching movies like The Terminator, spoiler alert, made me wonder if a robot uprising was possible in real life. Sure, Arnold Schwarzenegger always came out on top, meaning there was nothing to worry about… right? These movies always instilled a sense of fear or uncertainty, but it also added to the fascination level, hence why is is such a popular genre. So, why is it increasingly nerve wrecking when you hear stories like popular social networking giant Facebook having to shut down their AI nicknamed Alice and Bob after they invented their own language and were communicating to each other in a way humans could not understand?
This sounds like the plot for the next popular television, but it’s a real thing! It’s interesting that we are constantly producing movies and shows that demonstrate this threat, and yet we are somehow obsessed with making this threat a reality.
When the iPhone 4s was released in 2011, it was the launch of Apple’s digital personal assistant, Siri. Those of you that know Siri may love her, or you may have her disabled in your settings, but one thing for sure is that we now all have access to virtual personal assistants that can schedule our appointments, set reminders, call friends, or even compose a message for us.
Siri is a voice recognition feature that will respond to the tone of your voice and she is often activated with a simple “Hey Siri”. She is pretty accurate in her response and can access a wide amount of information on the Internet, but at the end of the day, I always wonder if she will turn into a version of HER.
After All, Siri is based on a military designed program. The use of Artificial Intelligence systems are common in scientific and military designs. AI was originally created as a computer-based program that can solve problems in a creative manner.
Siri is not the only modern AI system that you may be familiar with. There is Alexa by Amazon Echo and Google Home by Google. All these systems are able to meet our demands through voice activation, but soon will we expect them to do more? And where will that lead?
People, are often exposed to the friendlier robots, café serving robots, or even, Paro, the increasingly popular robotic harp seal. Paro is a therapy robot, designed to help patients with dementia by soothing and engaging them. The creator of Paro, Japanese scientist Takanori Shibata, says Paro is a Canadian seal, since his voice was recorded from baby harp seal in Quebec. Paro has been used since 2003 in Japan and Europe, but has now made his way to San Francisco, where he was showcased at a gerontechnology gathering. Gerontechnology studies human aging and the combination of technology to assist the elderly. In fact, there are numerous AI’s designed to help humans and are called carebots. Another example is Robear, a nursing robot that is being tested to lift patients up and transfer them from beds to wheelchairs.
However friendly and cuddly these robots appear to be, I will always end up thinking about the movies that are bringing this obsession to life.
By all means, robots are helpful and can make life easier, but when they develop their own language and leave humans out of the picture, things become a bit more questionable and creepy.
So, do you think that one day AI will overpower human intelligence? Have we started the process of designing our own downfall, or am I just being dramatic? Let us know in the comments below.