From reel life to real, artificial intelligence is revolutionising the way things work, one click at a time
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the term “artificial intelligence?” I am reminded of the famous 1999 movie Matrix in which the dialogue “Never send a human to do a machine’s job” became popular. The movie, Wachowski brothers’ cyberpunk action classic, was set in a grim future where intelligent machines had enslaved mankind, keeping them subdued with a simulated reality called the Matrix. Dark-suited, sunglasses-sporting ‘agents’ — powerful, sentient AI programmes — patrolled the Matrix, led by Hugo Weaving’s snarling villainous Agent Smith. They suppressed human rebellion by dodging bullets and punching through concrete. But in reality, artificial intelligence already plays an active role in our everyday lives.
By now, most of us are aware of phone assistants such as Siri or Google Now, that is artificial intelligence. You may have also identified AI when playing chess against a virtual opponent, or when playing more sophisticated motion-tracking games with the Kinect. But did you know that artificial intelligence is also present in Google translate and spam blockers?
Artificial Intelligence or AI is the science of using computers to do things that traditionally require the human mind. It is a technology that will accelerate the digital transformation of industry, and will prove essential to the success of our digital economy in an increasingly connected world.
For AI to deliver on its promise, however, it will require predictability and trust. These two are interrelated. Predictable treatment of the complex issues AI will throw up, such as accountability and permitted data uses, will encourage investment and use. Similarly, progress requires consumers to trust the technology, the fairness of how they are affected by it, and how their data is used; predictable and transparent treatment facilitates this trust.
Better understanding of AI is necessary for students to make a career of it. Studying it opens up a world of opportunities.
At a basic level, you will better understand the systems and tools that you interact with on a daily basis. And if you stick with the subject and study more, you can help create cutting-edge AI applications, like the Google Self Driving Car, or IBM’s Watson — the possibilities are endless.
Studying AI now can prepare you for a job as a software engineer researching neural networks, human-machine interfaces, and quantum artificial intelligence. Or, you could work as a software engineer in the industry working for companies like Amazon for shopping list recommendation engines and Facebook for analysing and processing big data.