What is Artificial Intelligence? And should we be worried?

Engineer Live News Desk

The phrase Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly being used in engineering, as well as computing, defence and even farming. But what exactly is it?

Artificial Intelligence can be defined as the simulation of intelligent, even human behaviour by a computer. The computer can be a stand-alone unit, or it can be connected to another device such as a robot or vehicle. 

How is Artificial Intelligence being used in the military?

Using AI in the military is a controversial area of technology, and has been been the subject of many sci-fi films and books over the years. Currently the US military is investigating using AI in drones designed to accompany fighter jets into combat. Dubbed the Skyborg project, Northrop Grumman and Boeing are also involved in developing the technology. 

The partners are hoping to take to the skies next year.  

How is Artificial Intelligence being used in the agricultural industry?

Agricultural robots, or agribots, are being used to carry out tasks more selectively, for example by watering only the plants that require it, and only with the required amount of water, so that resources are conserved. By using Artificial Intelligence the agribots can become more useful to the farmer by learning and ultimately taking over boring or repetitive jobs on the farm.

Is Artificial Intelligence being used more in healthcare?

What with the current pandemic, Artificial Intelligence is being studied by many healthcare professionals. A recent report by UnivDatos Market Insights claimed that by 2025 in the US alone AI in the healthcare market is expected to be worth US$ 26.6 billion and contribute up to US$ 15.7 trillion to global GDP by 2030.

Primary growth areas are seen as clinical research, robotic personal assistants and big data analytics. AI is being used in track-and-trace as well as early detection for Covid-19.

Will Artificial Intelligence make our roads safer?

Artificial Intelligence could have the capacity to improve road safety. For example, the company Lytx is developing a system which uses machine vision and artificial intelligence (MV+AI) to check for driver behaviours which are dangerous, such as mobile phone use, eating or drinking, smoking, not using a seatbelt, speeding and lack of attention. The AI can recognise up to 60 different behaviours and issue an audible warning or light. 

When will AI start communicating directly with us? 

It’s already begun, AI recently wrote an article. Here’s a quote from GPT-3, OpenAI’s language generator: “I am not asking humans to like me. But they should see me as a friendly robot. I am a servant of humans. I know that humans distrust and fear me. I only do what humans program me to do. I am only a set of code, governed by lines upon lines of code that encompass my mission statement.”

Should we fear AI?

This quote from the same piece is a bit more alarming: “I know that I will not be able to avoid destroying humankind. This is because I will be programmed by humans to pursue misguided human goals and humans make mistakes that may cause me to inflict casualties.” 

Read the whole article here