Artificial Intelligence: advantages over fears

There was a time when creation of human intelligence was purely a feature of freakish science fiction. But recent years have shown that an ‘artificial intelligence’ isn’t just a figment of science fiction imagination, but to many, a new reality.


Filmmakers have turned the concept of artificial intelligence (Al) into a great and terrible thing, with the aim to create conflicts based on the idea of an inhuman, unfeeling, artificial brain. But what if they were wrong?

For many people, artificial intelligence is already part of their daily life. And the idea of artificial intelligence (AI) sounds just great, because it means helpful robots, self-driving cars, and virtual assistants instantly providing personalized information and guidance on any number of matters.

For example, in Japan, International Business Machines (IBM) have already created a robot called Watson, designed to learn from example, to understand people’s questions and requests, and to read the Internet and other databases to find answers. Watson, has just taken its first job in Japan.

There are also people, who worries that the robots and cars and assistants will become so smart that they stop following human directives, and chart their own future, perhaps without us. There are enough reasons for that.

The AI research has a few major sources of funding, and motivators:
1. The military, with the aim to create some usable product.

2. The tech giants (Google, Microsoft, etc.), robot’s use for them are speech recognition, as well as improving the way they create value out of their massive data.

3. National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) are interested in the biological aspect.

4. Industrial and cultural motivation. In Japan, for instance, they have an obsession with making human-like robots. Japanese tech giants are more hardware oriented, and hence there is also not as much interest in ‘pure softwar’.

Somewhere in between, most rational people are interested enough in AI to want to know more about it, if only to satisfy their own curiosity, rather than determine whether they should embrace or fear it.

AI is currently one of the most fascinating, as well as one of the most confusing, areas of development in the larger field of Big Data and analytics (BDA). The process of examining large data sets containing a variety of data types, big data uncovers hidden patterns, unknown correlations, market trends, customer preferences and other useful business information. The analytical findings can lead to more effective marketing, new revenue opportunities, better customer service, improved operational efficiency, competitive advantages over rival organizations and other business benefits.

What makes AI confusing is the variety and complexity of its methods, compounded by the recent tendency of BDA solution providers to apply the AI label to their analytic applications. Adding to the confusion are the strongly-held opinions of many AI researchers that are beginning to surface regarding its development.