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Key to the Future or Doomed to Fail?: The Current State of Artificial Intelligence in the World

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is the ability of computer software to complete basic tasks that are commonly associated with intelligent beings whether that being determining meaning or being able to reason and use logic like humans. It is a technology that has been around longer than many might think. Artificial intelligence seems to be all the rage in recent news and trends all over the internet. With generative platforms like ChatGPT, it seems as though we have access to just about anything anything we want on the internet. It is important to know the boundaries of artificial intelligence. How does it benefit us, and more importantly, what kind of risks does it pose? 

Goals of AI

There are three main goals tied with the functions of AI. These include artificial general intelligence (AGI), applied AI, and cognitive stimulation.

1. AGI. This goal works toward producing a digital machine or computer that can accurately simulate the intelligence and skills of a human being. These kinds of skills include thinking on its own and becoming its own cognitive being. This is considered to be the main goal of AI as it has yet to be entirely achieved.

2. Applied AI.  Applied artificial intelligence is also known as advanced information processing. It aims to create commercially viable "smart" systems. This goal of AI works to create expert systems which is when intelligence learns everything possible about a specific field of study that is meant to outperform any human expert in the field.

3. Cognitive Stimulation. This goal is largely used in the world of neuroscience and cognitive psychology already. Computers use cognitive stimulation to test theories that explain how the human mind works. It works to study the human mind in order to understand it better. This helps artificial intelligence systems to develop deep learning skills as well as social cognitive abilities. 

Types of AI

As AI continues to be expanded and developed, the functions and types of artificial intelligence that we use on a daily basis become much more varied. Microsoft outlines the seven basic types of AI that we use on a daily basis.

1. Speech recognition. Virtual assistants are available with just about any device you buy these days. Every major tech company has its own AI system that uses speech recognition to perform internet searches, set reminders, translate languages, and send a text message. Voice recognition is one of the most common types of AI we use daily to make our lives easier.

2. Machine learning. Machines can learn to make informed decisions based on analytics, algorithms, and statistical models. The end result is software that can adapt to how you use it. Search engines, retailers, and investment companies use machine learning programs to improve your user experience and provide personalized recommendations for search results, products, and investment opportunities, respectively.

3. Deep learning. Deep learning is different from machine learning because it uses artificial neural networks to function like a human brain. There are multiple hidden layers of neural networks (typically two or three, sometimes up to 150) in an algorithm that works together to “teach” the system recognition of anything from simple images to cancer cells. The algorithms will produce analytics that can be used to project future outcomes based on past events, simulations, and predictive models.

4. Virtual representatives. There are millions of online shops of all sizes. From the mom-and-pop boutiques that operate out of a studio apartment to the multi-national enterprise retailers we shop at every day, they all have some form of customer service. AI virtual agents are becoming more and more common, so these companies don’t have to staff a 24-hour customer service department. AI chatbots can answer common inquiries, so minor issues don’t need to be elevated beyond a simple chat. They can be programmed to direct customers toward an FAQ page or informative articles or help them contact a human if the problem is beyond the bot’s capabilities.

5. Natural language generation. Using AI, someone can gain the information necessary to write a script for a presentation, essay, video and beyond. The technology is improving to the point where it can often relay the info pretty naturally—and even present it—using natural voice inflection so the average person can’t identify that it’s a machine doing the work.

6. Decision management. Businesses have protocols in place to help make decision-making easier at any given moment. Consider a football team preparing for a big game by playing nearly every scenario on the field—then establishing the play they’ll run in any given situation. Decision management using AI can run simulations to help predict specific scenarios a business might come across, then suggest the best way to proceed. This can lead to swift action that makes it easier to pivot as needed or respond to a crisis.

7. Biometrics. Biometric technology AI uses augmented reality solutions to recognize your facial features whenever you hold your device up in front of you. In fact, it’s so finely tuned that it can recognize you even with minor changes like facial hair, makeup, eyeglasses, etc. The biometric AI system looks at the geometry of the face by remembering the distance between the eyes, distance from the forehead to the chin, depth of eye sockets, shapes of cheekbones, and contours of the ears, chin, and lips.                       

Problems with AI

Along with all of the different types of artificial intelligence that we can use and that are continually being developed and advance come many public concerns. Certain social media platforms that use biometrics for face filters or services like Chat GPT can and have been used for harm in recent years. There is a severe lack of regulation with AI technology, and when not properly monitored, it can become a threat to anyone who uses the internet and the AI services that have been embedded into platforms we use on a daily basis. It is important to stay educated on the rapidly changing world of artificial intelligence, and staying informed can help with the development of new technology. Despite the concerns that come with the uncertainty AI technology's future, there are many potential benefits to it as well, and finding a balance with the usage of this technology is important for maintaining internet and personal safety.