Dylan Talks is cooking, technology, reviews, and the other random things that you forgot you need to know to get through life. Learn things, save money, be healthy, be entertained.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Artificial Intelligence - Are Computers Smarter Than You?

A few years ago artificial intelligence was only in science fiction. Remember when John Connor was the only hope for saving the world from Skynet? At that time, the idea of a computer system becoming self-aware was fantasy... Or was it? Believe it or not, formal research was being done on artificial intelligence in the 1950's. At that time there were predictions that computers as intelligent as a human being would be a reality in no more than a generation. Has that vision become a reality? What are the social and ethical implications?

What is Artificial Intelligence... Really?  
Obviously, we don't have Skynet taking over the planet and terminators running around trying to eliminate the human race, but that doesn't mean AI is not here. By definition, it is the development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. These could include visual perception, speech recognition, decision making, and language translation. There are lot of AI interfaces that we use every day that we may not think about, Every time we use a translator on  our web browser, Siri or Alexa, (two common digital personal assistants) radar based cruise control, and more recently, self-driving cars, we are using some sort of artificial intelligence.

Artificially Intelligent Gaydar? 
Asking your phone to google a word is one thing, but can a computer "know" things? What if it could tell your sexual orientation and do it better than a human. Stanford University recently did a study where they developed and tested a computer with "gaydar" that performed better than the actual people in the study. This computer algorithm could correctly predict the sexual preference of a person with 81% accuracy in men and 74% in women. When humans were asked to test their "gaydar" they were only about 50% right. The computer used things like jaw shape, forehead height, hairstyle, and other things to make its guesses. One very interesting thing about the study is people of color were not included in the study. They used about 35,000 pictures published publicly on dating websites. While this is all very interesting, it raises a few questions.

What if Computers Become Smarter than Us? 
The truth is, they already are. The "Gaydar Study" at Stanford proves that it is possible to write a program that makes a computer smarter than a person. This doesn't mean that they will come to life and take over the world a la Skynet. Facebook recently experimented with computers that developed conversations in their own language. While it did not have meaningful results, it shows that computers that converse with each other, make decisions, and complete tasks without human intervention are right around the corner. This leads to a couple of questions that I will leave you to think about... let me know your thoughts in the comments
  • How will AI affect jobs? Will a computer replace me?
  • How does AI affect equality issues?
  • How do we protect AI from adversaries?
  • What will happen to human's ability to interact as AI starts to make our decisions?

Dylan Talks is cooking, technology, reviews, and the other random things that you forgot you need to know to get through life. Learn things, save money, be healthy, be entertained.

Thanks for reading,

Dylan Mckerchie
Dylan Talks
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