(photo by Gnaphron)
As I review articles regarding AI, I frequently see a fear that some people have regarding this technology. Sometimes it is simply fear of change and those people will always have it. Other times, it is fear of the unknown and falling for what I call the Hollywood myth of AI. This is perpetuated in movies that have AI becoming self aware and requiring some extreme act of heroism in order to save humanity. Undoubtedly it makes for a great story. In reality, AI is a software program that is based on mathematical equations. There is a danger but it is not the Hollywood version because equations cannot become self aware. We can make AI look human, talk like a human, and act like a human but that is still all based on software that has been programmed. Do you remember dolls where you pulled a string and they would talk? They would say “I’m hungry” or “I love you”. Was that doll alive? Of course not. Now we are better at making inanimate objects appear human by using software programs and this is creating confusion. In reality, AI is no more alive than that doll.
Below is part of my code for an AI algorithm.
This is a simple neural network that analyzes data and predicts an outcome. This outcome is the basis for making decisions at various stages of the project. The real danger of AI is with the creators of the algorithms. Software programs can be powerful enough to cause significant problems for people. Imagine a program that is used to maximize a crop of soybeans that gets out of control and expands to where it is destroying other crops. That is a real danger but it does not mean the software is self aware. It is time to put aside fear and decide how to take advantage of AI technology as well as how to manage and control the creation of software programs that might have a detrimental impact on our world.