Artificial Intelligence is a very controversial topic, especially with the rapid rate of advancement we
can see around us. Before we delve into this topic, what actually is Artificial Intelligence (a.k.a. AI)?
The ARRK group describes it as ‘anything… if it involves a program doing something that we would
normally think would rely on the intelligence of a human’. This initially sounds fantastic
developing computers that can do what we do better, but is it really all good?
Social Media & Algorithm
Many social media sites and search engines use AI to analyse and process masses of information
generated by consumers This is done through a process called ‘Deep Learning’, a way of teaching
machines to collect information using algorithms called ‘artificial neural networks’ inspired by both
the structure and function of the brain. This process means websites can now begin to understand a
vast plethora of information, from why we search certain terms to what we decide to buy online.
Although on the surface this may appear to be harmless, or even a good thing as often these sites
will try and tailor our experience of the site to our personal preference, this also has down sides. AI
will often use keywords to filter information, but there still lies room for misinterpretation of
content which can lead to inoffensive content being flagged and vice versa. Also as we begin to
depend more and more on AI, we may actually be removing the true ‘social’ part of social media.
Instead of interacting with other people, we could end up mainly interacting with AI.
Another area AI is being implemented is in robotics. I’m sure everyone has heard of Sophia, the
‘media darling’ robot created by Dr David Hanson of Hanson Robotics. Dr Hanson believes that
robots must have three key ‘distinctively human’ traits in order to truly be human-like; compassion,
creativity and empathy. Hanson Robotics, along with other robotics companies, aspire to create
robots which will evolve to surpass human intelligence and therefore have the capacity to solve
problems too advance for humans to solve. This is could be beneficial for us by taking the burden of
certain tasks off humans, but does this have the potential to make us lazy? If robots develop at the
rate that many companies project them to be, it will only be a matter of time before they potentially
replace us in the workplace. ‘No more work!!’ I hear some people cry, but without work will humans
become redundant? It’s a thought that bears thinking about.
So does this mean all AI is bad? Of course not, AI actually has a lot of positive functions and the
implication of AI systems has definitely made out lives a lot easier. An example of this is GPS- thanks
to AI we can find the quickest route to a destination we’ve never been to before and be able to
account for traffic in real time! However we must be careful in the way it is used, although
developments are being made to make robots more human-like, we must remember that they are