In 2017, the most used technical buzzword in the daily newspapers has been Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Robotics. We have heard both good things and bad things about them.
Good things like how AI powered Self Driving Cars would eliminate accidents and save around 1.5 million people every year from becoming accident victims, how machines are going to invent cures for all the diseases in the world using algorithms, how things that we use daily like tooth-brush, fitness wearable, clothes, and shoes etc., would continuously monitor our health and detect anomalies in your body and administer preventive medicine even before we become ill etc.
We also heard bad things like how AI Powered Self Driving Cars would make more than 20 million professional drivers jobless. Because of Preventive Medicine, how most of the health care professions like doctor, nurse, radiologist could become obsolete in next few years. The future projection is that most of the jobs that we do today would be taken over by machines and we the humans could become unemployed or under-employed.
The other scary thing that we hear about is how Robots could become more intelligent over time and take over the earth. Even the most famous technocrat Elon Musk and one of the most famous scientist of our time Stephen Hawking have been cautioning about AI and had requested governments and Institutions to establish governance before advancing the cause of Robots and Artificial Intelligence. Because they believe that the Robots could wipe out the entire human race from the planet Earth. But would that really ever happen?
If you look at human evolution, we survived all the technology advancements that happened from first industrial revolution to third industrial revolution. In fact, we completely exploited the technological advancements to our advantage and furthered the cause of human development. For example – With the invention of steam engine during first industrial revolution, we constructed rail network to move people and goods from one place to another. Invention of electricity during second industrial revolution has helped us to setup modern factories that could produce goods en mass. Also, it brought us all comforts to our home in the form of electronic appliances. Invention of Computer and Internet during third industrial revolution has helped us to get a job done just with click of a button. Today we are able to do most of the tasks on the go using our mobiles because of the invention of the Internet. It also helped us to transition from manufacturing era to service based industry thus creating millions of white collar jobs.
Today we are in the 4th Industrial Revolution and no doubt that this era would be driven by advancement in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. This is the era where man and the machine are going to co-exist, collaborate and work together. We are going to see unprecedented societal changes in terms of how we live, how we work, how and whom we spend our time with. Probably we could end up spending more time with robots rather than with our fellow human beings (Today itself we are spending more time with our phones than our fellow beings and imagine if we have a walking, talking and thinking machine with us).
Soon, the machines will be doctors, taxi drivers, waiters and policemen but still the million-dollar question is – Will they ever be more "intelligent?" than human beings. Human beings are blessed with unique characteristics like curiosity, emotions, pain and more importantly ambition, which are impossible to be replicated in machines. But at the same time we should pray that these machines would become intelligent enough to take over most of the work that we do today, so that we could spend more time doing something meaningful and purposeful with our lives like exploring the galaxy, the stars and the universe.
In May 1997, an important world event had happened. This is the day Gary Kasparov was defeated in a chess game by a computer called Deep Blue. Till then he was the undisputed world chess champion for more than 10 straight years. So, the entire world experienced the first instance of the “Rise of The Machine”.
Nearly 20 years after that incident, Gary Kasparov gave a wonderful TED Talk about Artificial Intelligence in 2017 and he explains as to why we should continue to invest in AI to make machines better and better and he firmly believes that machines can never replace human beings. Here is one of his famous quote from that speech – “Machines have calculations but we have understanding. Machines have instructions but we have purpose. Machines have objectivity but We have passion. We should not worry about what our machines can do today. Instead, we should worry about what they still cannot do today, because we will need the help of the new, intelligent machines to turn our grandest dreams into reality”
So the union of man and machine is inevitable and it is up to us as to how we would exploit this situation to our advantage and live happily ever after!