Hurray, it is already the 1st of April which means we officially started the A2Z challenge. As I said in my Theme Reveal post, I will be posting about Future Technologies that can change our world forever. For the first day we have the letter A which represents – according to my theme – the “Artificial Intelligence” technology.
Ok, AI is not something new so why do I mention it as a future technology? Well, AI research started back in 1956 in a conference in Dartmouth College. But till now we can say it has just passed its baby steps. We still didn’t yet reach the Strong AI which we watch in Sci-Fi movies.
Nowadays AI apps can just be “intelligent” in a certain task to do. And it must learn how to do that task from a human expert. There are different methods of learning (which is a sub-field called Machine Learning) but they need a human expert in a way or another. It is really an interesting field because we study thoroughly how the human brain works specially in the childhood period and apply these techniques on the computer program/agent. The question that many thinkers pose is “Can computers be REALLY intelligent?”
Ok, now that is a question that interests many people even from an ethical point of view. Some people go as far as rejecting the whole idea because they think we are trying to be Gods. So, to settle this, in 1980, the American philosopher John Searle designed a thought experiment to address this problem. It is called “The Chinese Room“. It goes as this:
Imagine that I locked you in a room with only a book of instructions that if you followed precisely you can translate and write Chinese text. Then a Chinese person comes at the door and passes you a Chinese question through the door. Please note that the Chinese person doesn’t know anything about what’s inside the room. So, you take the question, follow the instructions to translate it, understand it and then use the book again to construct a Chinese answer and pass it through the door to the Chinese person. He takes the answer and from the quality of its Chinese he ACTUALLY thinks that you -the person inside the room- is either a Chinese or someone who lived all his life in China to be able to produce an answer like this. But, after all do you REALLY understand Chinese text? The answer is of course you don’t. You just simulate that knowledge.
So, A computer program can only simulate human intelligence but he is never intelligent. Then Alan Turing the “Father of Theoretical Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence” created one of the most known methods in AI “The Turing Test”. You probably know that test if you watched the movie “The Machine“. Turing’s logic is “If a computer program can convince a human that he is talking to a human just like him then we can say it is intelligent”. So, a human asks the computer program some questions unaware that he is communicating with a program or a human. If this human expert could tell the real human from the “intelligent” program then the program is not intelligent.
So, can you imagine what the world be like if we managed to create Strong AI? Of course you don’t need to, Sci-Fi writers already did it for you 🙂 If you want to know where AI really can get to in the future, you can read my LONG article interpreting the movie “The Thirteenth Floor“. You don’t need to watch the movie to read the article though. I hope you enjoyed my first post in April.