Author Archives: Anthony Barley

The Future of AI

Everyone wonders about what Artificial Intelligence will bring and how it will impact us in the future. According to an article by Max Tegmark, the AI today is only narrow or weak AI which “is designed to perform a narrow task” but the AI in the future will be general AI or AGI (strong AI) which will “outperform humans at nearly every cognitive task.” Many questions arise with this type of change into our lives. How will we be able to stop/control AI if it is designed to outsmart human intelligence? What are some of the problems that will arise because of Artificial Intelligence and how will be combat these issues? What are some of the benefits this new technology can provide?

Max discusses some of the dangers that can result from future AI. In addition to being able to outperform human, AI can also do good things the “bad” way. For example, Max states how “autonomous weapons are artificial intelligence weapons that are programmed to kill” meaning that if this technology gets misplaced or put into the wrong hands, it can easily cause mass causalities, maybe even be able to “destroy the human race” as we have only seen in movies. Also, even if the end goal of AI is to do something good, it may not take the ‘safest” way to reach that goal. Max gives an examples of how if the mission of an autonomous vehicle is to take one to the airport as fast as possible, it might get one there being chased by helicopters and being covered in vomit.

In an article on Business Insider by Guia Marie Del Prado, Prado states “AI could either make all of our dreams come true or destroy society and the world as we know it.” Above we discussed the dangers of AI, but what are the possible benefits? Prado discusses a number of benefits that can come from smarter and better functioning AI. The first one is that it can keep us safer, which is an obvious fact. But if autonomous vehicles become a lifestyle in the future and there are zero to no human drivers, the road for humans, pedestrians, and animals could be made much much safer. There will be no issues regarding speeding, drunk driving, or “deer on the road”. In addition to driving, AI may also be able to warn us of coming disasters and even be able to enable appropriate responses to eliminate these disasters. AI has the potential to not only become smarter than humans, but to make humans supersmart and “better at everything”. The combination of Artificial Intelligence and humans can make history with its accomplishments and help humans achieve more than they ever could alone. AI can also be able to solve the world’s problems and save the world. As Staurt Russel writes in Prado’s article: “If you had a system that could read all the pages and understand the context instead of just throwing back 26 million pages to answer your query, that kind of program could actually answer the questions asked. It’ll be like if you asked a real question and got an answer from a person who had really read all those millions and millions and billions of pages and understood them and been able to synthesize all that information.” This type of intelligence could help the world solve poverty, or diseases, or prevent wars and find solutions without having to take lives to do it. All this can happen of course, after ethics are taken in to consideration and applied to each of these aspects that AI focuses on.

So how is the world today preparing for the future of AI? Is there even enough going on to keep up with the new AI innovations coming out every day? In an article called “The Administration’s Report on the Future of Artificial Intelligence”, it states that the White House is aware of AI and is releasing a report on “future directions and considerations” for AI called Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence. In addition to this report, the White House also holds public workshops which teach the public and get their inputs on AI, information which they include in the report.

Among the strategies:

  • Better understand the national AI R&D workforce need.
  • Develop effective methods for human-AI collaboration.
  • Develop shared public datasets and environments for AI training and testing.
  • Make long-term investments in AI research.

In this video, the speaker Jack Delosa speaks about HECI (Humanities, Ethics, Creativity, Imaginations). This acronym discusses how right now, hard skills are more looked for than soft skills. But in the future with better and stronger Artificial Intelligence, soft skills will be one of the main things employers will be looking for in humans (this being said only if AI doesn’t start to have emotions yet). He also says that “the number one skill set that exists today and that will exist in the future, that isn’t a skillset at all, is your ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn.” This is how we prepare for the future.

The future of AI is almost the present. We don’t whether this technology is going to help us or destroy us, we don’t know whether we’d ever be able to keep it under control, or if we could ever learn to coincide with it. All we know is that it’s coming and its going to keep improving.

Artificial art (Artificial intelligence)

Most of our firsthand experience with artificial intelligence in entertainment stems from farfetched cases of an undeveloped understanding of AI in vivid Hollywood scenarios. Majority of the scenarios bring to question whether advances in technology could evolve beyond our control in movies like, The Terminator, Ex Machina, and children’s action film Spy Kids. In these notable films, AI agents develop a conscious thought process equivalent of the protagonist their up against in these films.

While this gives a flowery depiction of AI, the outstanding question of AI and its affinity in the context of art/entertainment remains. It’s important to understand the original purpose of AI, which is to assist humans and their interaction with technology. “The technology we have today compared to what could be is like making a stick figure drawing of Michelangelo’s David,” stated by Tim Tuttle, CEO and founder of AI firm Expect Labs. But what if that same AI technology can produce art much greater than Michelangelo’s David?

Breakthroughs that are brought into this world are usually unorthodox especially in art. Usually against enormous resistance from the status quo, is itself a profoundly human talent, driven as it is by narrative, vision, empathy and influence. When it comes to music specifically in the genre of Hip Hop, it seems hard to believe that AI can duplicate the flow and delivery not to mention the sense of urgency in the content.

In 2014, Melomics released 0music – an album composed by an artificial intelligence named Melomics109 without any human intervention whatsoever. You can hear one of the songs from the album here. Now, the music isn’t anything special; it’s no Mozart or Beatles. However, its lack musical greatness doesn’t take away from the magnitude of the step taken. As we’ve all learned from studying disruption innovation, most disruptive innovations start out unimpressive; that’s why most people don’t pay attention until it’s too late. As a musician who has studied disruptive innovation, this scares me. I’m scared of the potential that an AI can reach not just musically, but across every genre of art. There are even instances where AIs are writing film scripts. Again, they’re terrible, but that’s not the point. The point is that it’s a step, and a giant one.

A familiar commercial tech giant Google has launch Magenta, a research project to explore using artificial intelligence to create art. Magenta encompasses two goals. It’s first a research project to advance the state-of-the art in music, video, image and text generation. So much has been done with machine learning to understand content— for example speech recognition and translation; in this project we want to explore content generation and creativity. Second, Magenta is an attempt to build a community of artists, coders and machine learning researchers. Starting with algorithms that can generate music at first and eventually will move on to videos and various visual arts.

There are two main reasons why this scares me. I’m scared of an obstacle that I think humanity will face and has faced repeatedly in history. It’s the same obstacle we faced when we learned that the sun did not revolve around the earth. When AI achieves a level of artistic creativity that leaves us in awe, I think we will all question how special humans really are. As of right now, art is very much a reflection of our experiences, and often times an extension of who we are. When we like a song, we feel connected to the artist – it’s all very grounded in relationships. How will that change when something that isn’t human does the creating? What is there to connect to?