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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Artificial Intelligence in Response to Human Need

Since before the beginning of its development, the very concept of artificial intelligence has been perceived by the masses to be frightening, if not threatening. Since the dawn of the implementation of artificial intelligence, there has been ongoing conversation about the impact that AI development would have on societies across the globe. Like most technological advancements, AI has developed and evolved in a dizzying array of astounding discoveries and brilliant ideas, woven together to forge sturdy (if not – sometimes – slightly flawed) implementation of those ideas. In this current era of technological revolution, artificial intelligence remains a leading force, surging towards a future in which AI technology can not only stand with humanity, but aid it to become more successful. With this realisation inevitably comes the knowledge that AI advancement is not a new concept. It is instead one that has been dancing around the edges of society’s general awareness since well before movies and television series began using the concept as a base for entertainment.

In short, artificial intelligence refers to any form of technology that performs as an extension of our basic human selves – mobile phones allow us to communicate across oceans faster than by pen and paper, cars and planes allow us to travel faster than on foot. There are three forms of AI that house every kind of artificial technology thought of, developed, and implemented. In terms of technological advancement, the current developments in the field are teetering between Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI – AI machines that can perform one set task only) and Artificial General Intelligence (AGI – AI machines that can perform any task that human beings can, either just as well or possibly better). The debate that consistently comes up in relation to the topic is one of safety – can we really feel safe when we constantly surround ourselves with machines that steadily become more and more well-structured, and more independent on their own make up? The short answer is yes. While the argument consistently comes up between professionals in the field, the reality is that the machines in question can only respond and operate with the coding that is embedded into their systems – in short, a machine cannot error if not embedded with human error.

The development of artificial intelligence is a driving force for technological advancement, and while the negative potential should not necessarily be ignored, it certainly should not be considered such a monumental threat to humanity. There have been some ideas that have evolved to become truly incredible (not to mention helpful) inventions that have made our lives easier. As the field is decidedly new in terms of public awareness, there is much room for new ideas to be brought to the market for potential growth – one good idea can change the world dramatically. Mobile phones have become the primary way of not only communication, but navigation and professionalism. Cars can now drive themselves with relative ease – a feat that once seemed impossible to comprehend, let alone understand to the point of comfort. A simple idea can evolve into a solitary patent revolution, and with the field becoming so advanced, so quickly, fresh ideas in AI are being thought of constantly, making it a competitive field for successful progression. For an idea to be brought to life, there must be time to develop said idea – and that is where protection measures often come in handy. While there is no limit to how long a winning idea can take to evolve, that does not mean that the idea is unique to one individual – it has happened multiple times that ideas (or ideas of similar calibre) are formed by multiple people at the same time.

A prime example of this concept in action is robots designed to help around the home. While many ideas have been developed over the years to allow robotic machines to assist around the home, only few ideas have come to be successful. In particular, a robot has been in development for a few years now that not only cooks award-winning meals, but cleans up after itself. This simple invention can make life at home astoundingly easier, especially for those that work all day only to come home and must prepare meals for themselves and their families. Taking the concept of AI technology aiding humanity a few steps further, there has been development and early implementation of machines that are designed specifically to either help those with health issues. Using technology to assist in circumstances where the health of human beings (not to mention animals) is nothing new, but the inclusion of AI machines to do so is. Machines are being developed and issued that assist individuals that have visual, hearing, or physical impairments. Further still, artificial intelligence technology has been implemented to actually detect the health issues themselves. These seemingly simple inventions have not only dramatically changed human lives and our response to life itself, but they have also paved the way for further AI-based technological success.

Artificial intelligence has proven itself to be one of the most – if not the top – controversial topics in the field since it first gained traction as a potentially gratifying technological triumph. The fear of what AI implementation would do to the work force and livelihood of people around the world became the primary topic of discussion. Despite this, however, the potential for positive impact in the wake of the use of AI cannot be overstated. From robotic kitchens that cook meals and clean up after themselves, to AI machines that assist the visually impaired or detect cancer, artificial intelligence has more than earned its place as the driving force in this era of technological acceleration. With the field being relatively new, there are limitless ideas and inventions that can be brought into the market and, potentially, change the world for the better.

 

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