Artificial Intelligence. Only in 2017 itself the term generated so much hype around it, feeding analysts, thought- leaders, technology giants and basically anyone with a smartphone to have a very clear opinion about this very broad term. Which ignited multi-layered discussions, spinning in many directions, with the first glance at the various versions of the discourse, the very core of the discussion focuses on a quite basic AI- good or bad? Good for humanity or disruptive? Will it bring to the growth of humanity, enabling to do things faster and smarter, or is this the beginning of the end, dooming humanity to destruction and leading to a world composed of heartless, hybrid entities, half cyborgs-half humans?
However, as interesting as this issue might be, when examining the issue closer, the real issue is the fact that the conversation boils down to a more advanced, yet fundamental, ancient, some would say, argument of "Man vs. Machine". This naturally constantly stirs up many sentiments, when reality is far from this conflicted-by-default point of view:
The truth is that it’s a completely different story, as it's not man vs. machine, rather man with machine, where each contributes to the other, completing tasks which one cannot do without the other. Unlocking the true potential of any AI-oriented ambition or initiative relies on this assumption: The machine cannot perform without the human intelligence guiding it through the strategy and mission, and man cannot complete the task in any given time or in the manner expected. Symbiosis, or as Maurice Conti coined it- The augmented age, where machines and humans work side-by-side to accomplish things neither could do alone. Reframing the discussion to a completely different point of view enables the discourse to be more about the functionality and the advantages of a symbiotic man-machine relationship and focuses on what can be done rather than being stuck in a very narrow paradigm which shifts the attentions mostly to why AI is disruptive. Bottom line is, that even Steven Wozniak recently back tracked and announced that AI is still less advanced than the human brain, and that rather than emphasizing the various dangers AI might contain, we should be seeking the benefits and embrace them.
That being said, it's important to understand exactly what is the framework for Artificial Intelligence-humanity convergence, and what should be left for Hollywood transcripts and dark theaters.
"Help me help you"- AI in the service of humanity
Setting the ground for a new and far less-intimidating discussion opens the horizons for interesting opportunities, such as the various AI uses to literally transform industries, immensely impacting anything from taking the load of operations, through performance optimization, to advanced practices of enhanced customer experience. Artificial intelligence is already replacing many capabilities and offers new business capabilities, such as the use of dialogue systems such as chatbots, The rather common usages of automated data analysis and pattern recognition for numerous use cases, and reinforced learning, just to name a few of the vast AI capabilities that are being widely used.
Seen one seen them all? Artificial intelligence has many faces
Dismantling this issue also has to do with the very broad umbrella terms of AI use across a wide range of industries, emphasizing the different infrastructure tools that include any form of AI technology, with the basic understanding that Some tools may contain different AI methods to achieve a certain goal. As mentioned earlier, AI is VERY broad term. By containing an incredibly large spectrum of capabilities to a condensed term, and generalizing it this does disservice to the vast potential enfolded within Artificial Intelligence, as the term has already been over used. By reintroducing artificial intelligence in its full glory (or perhaps "rebranding" it in the benefit of, well, science) and presenting the full capacities, even if they remain unsolved, will enable more and more industries to adopt AI/ML capabilities, minus the hype.
Setting expectations: What can AI do and what it cannot do
The best way to approach AI is to examine its capabilities what is realistic to expect and what is probably fed by (way) too many sci-fi films introducing inadequate machine capabilities or extremely complex tasks, which try to imitate human behaviors, tasks that are very difficult to program (such as ones involving associative connectivity, decision making etc.), while the brutal truth is that Artificial intelligence produces most value when implemented on redundant, boring, tedious tasks. Though the popular approach is for robots to take over strategy and replace human wisdom, machines today lack the complex capability of reasoning, provide free association, creative thinking- these are all beyond reach and the human brain is still the sole source and executer of such tasks. Machines, are, sadly, not. Even the most advanced AI-based machinery, reaches its limited binary boundaries, despite advanced connectivity and wiring.
Technology provides humans the bandwidth to focus on the "brainier" workload which is the actual reason for business growth- problem solving across the board. Given that Artificial Intelligence yet lacks the tools to predict the future, it’s quite easy to state that the fun and exciting part is actually still in front of us.