Artificial Intelligence: Top Five Myths

Artificial Intelligence

“Hey Google! What are the weather predictions for tomorrow?”, I asked my smartphone as I was my planning to go out for the weekend. That’s how ubiquitous Artificial Intelligence or A.I. has become. In a very short duration, the technology has made its way from science fiction books to our everyday lives. From our smartphones to our televisions, our local stores, our music systems, hospitals, markets, schools, malls, and pretty much everywhere, AI has made its way. Google assistant, Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Bixby, and IBM Watson Assistant are few of the most popular AIs right now.

AI is a modern-day technology that is capable of replicating human intelligence. It’s a non-human brain capable of simulating brain-like functions and making decisions of its own. Despite the widespread network of AI, people still have many misconceptions about this technology. In this article, we will talk about the top five myths about AI that people have.

#1 “AI will take away human jobs”

Undoubtedly, this one comes on the top of our list. The biggest fear that people have when it comes to AI is the threat that it poses to human jobs. AI can surely overtake us in terms of our capabilities to perform a particular task but its ramifications are hugely overblown. AI was developed with the intention to assist humans not overtake them.

No doubt, AI will change the job scenario. With further development of the technology, many of our jobs will become irrelevant. But that, in turn, will open up the door to a whole variety of new jobs. Because despite all its capabilities, AI is still human dependent. There will be a higher need of data scientists, technicians, machine learning experts, and statisticians.

#2 “AI is some sort of over-sophisticated technology as shown in Sci-Fi”

It’s true that most of our ideas are shaped by the content we watch on screen. Though enlightening, it does create unrealistic expectations at times. AI has developed a similar kind of unrealistic image because of how it has been portrayed. Many people think that AI is some sort of over-sophisticated technology as shown in Sci-Fi. They believe it is only for big corporations and highly qualified scientists.

However, they often tend to overlook that AI has already made its way in our lives. “AI” is the buzz word in the electronics market right now. Every other smartphone maker is launching a phone with AI camera. Virtual assistants like Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Bixby are our everyday companions. Music streaming services like Spotify, Saavn, and YouTube music already suggest us playlists based on our music history. Gmail now comes with a smart reply feature and automatically completes our sentences. Google suggests us ads based on our search history. Paytm remembers our bill payments and recharges, and reminds us to pay the same before the beginning of the next cycle. Amazon suggests us items based on our shopping history. All in all, we are already co-existing with AI. Yet we tend to be scared of it based on our perception of AI.

#3 “AI will eventually lead to the destruction of the human race”

This again arises from our perception of AI built over the years through various Sci-Fi movies and TV shows. It’s one thing to enjoy such content on the screen while it’s a completely different thing to believe the same will happen in reality too. It’s going a bit overboard to expect a real-life ‘Ultron’ trying to bring the human race to an end. If anything, it’s going more to be like Steven Spielberg’s ‘Artificial Intelligence’. Over the years, AI has proved extremely beneficial in various applications and there seem to be no reason to expect otherwise in future too.

#4 “AI can learn everything on its own”

It’s true AI has the ability to make use of data it has and come up with logical deductions. However, most people do not realise that AI cannot make use of whatever messy data it is fed. It requires experienced data scientists to feed an AI the relevant data, prepare datasets, remove irrelevant data, and update the software. An algorithm used by AI is basically a program, and programs need good data. It’s important to feed AI the right data for it to perform its functions.

Thus, it is a misconception that an AI can learn everything on its own. AI needs data scientists and machine learning experts to help it learn new things.

#5 “AI can create novelty”

It is a widespread belief that AI is capable of creating novelty. People believe that AI will eventually replace humans in terms of ingenuity and creativity. It is believed that a few years down the line, AI will start writing books, creating movies, poems, paintings, and art. Many such attempts have been made too.

However, it is a misconception. Those who understand AI know that AI works through machine learning which itself depends on the data fed. So, based on the data fed to the algorithm, AI can make predictions. It can use earlier works to create something on similar lines but it is not capable of producing something novel.

Take this for an example. A few days back, on Johann Christian Bach’s birth anniversary, Google made an interactive Doodle. It was the first AI-powered Doodle from Google where a user could compose his/her own music that would sound like something composed by Bach. The algorithm behind the Doodle was fed 306 chorale harmonisations by Bach. It helped the AI Doodle compose music similar to Bach’s. But at the end of the day, the music created was similar to the data that was fed to the algorithm. It did not create anything out of the purview of its source. So, that is where its limitations lie.

With all that being said, we also need to be aware of the other side of AI. It is a distant possibility that one day AI may become independent. Tech giants like Elon Musk and Bill Gates have often talked about the future risks of AI. We need to work on the regulatory aspects of this technology so as to ensure that this technology is used in the right way.

Here is a clip of Elon Musk talking about Artificial Intelligence.

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