Artificial intelligence is not new

Artificial intelligence, AI, has been in the news lately and the discussion has been centered around the AI programs going rogue and ruling the world.  While the familiarization of the new technology is just being understood, artificial intelligence has been with us for years.  The following is an article I wrote in July of 2017 that addressed AI.



In the early 1980s the PC computers were in their infancy. Computer memory was very small. Today memory in a personal computer has several thousand times the internal memory as compared to the early computers. The ability to process information is now several hundred times faster than their earlier predecessors. This expansion in computer technology has led to many marvelous breakthroughs in both science and society.

I remember walking through a computer store in downtown Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s. There was an assortment of projects in boxes on a wall. Electronics, science and one box that had Artificial Intelligence written on it. That caught my attention as people had started talking about it but due to technology limitations the actual implementation of artificial intelligence, AI, was a long way in the future. I was right with that assumption but I thought that it would be a gradual technology implementation. That is where I missed the mark. All of a sudden Artificial Intelligence is with us and is being implemented at an alarming rate.

Today we are seeing driverless cars, trucks that will automatically back trailers and other cars that will auto-parallel park. All of these leaps forward in technology are the front end of artificial intelligence implementation. This is only the tip of the ice berg. Soon driverless trucks will be crossing the country and good paying jobs will be eliminated. As the number of trucks requiring drivers disappear, the remaining drivers will be working for less wages. Manufacturing will become more and more technical as workers are replaced with very sophisticated robots that continually learn as time goes by and the machines perform better jobs over time. The sky is the limit when it comes to what is in store for the world. The big question is, what do we do with the displaced workers.

AI does performs functions today that helps us without threatening American jobs. Alexa, Amazon’s device that controls functions in the house based on voice commands is a prime example. Not only does it understand voice commands but it is learning the home’s voice commands and continually improves. This is true artificial intelligence, the ability to learn. IBM also has its’ own version of an artificial intelligence device with Watson. One Japanese firm adopted Watson and ultimately replaced its’ 34-man workforce. IBM has actually been developing AI since 1950 but it is not until now that technology, cost and market have all come together.

Development in AI is continuous and widespread. The University of Alberta teamed with IBM to develop an artificial intelligence application that diagnoses schizophrenia. The Royal Bank of Scotland, a major bank in the United Kingdom, uses AI applications to answer customer’s questions and perform minor transactions such as money transfer. The United Kingdom health services also has a chat application. A patient can call in and provide information to the AI application pertaining to symptoms they are experiencing. The AI application then evaluates the information and provides an analysis to the patient; all on the phone and with no human involvement.

AI is here and is expanding at a fast rate. Soon AI will be designing other AI applications and this is where human interaction must be inserted. Man must have a trigger to shut down the machine before the machine shuts down the man.”

It is important that human man kind be protected from outside influences.  This is why we must monitor and control the expansion of AI.  Problem is that countries we can trust such as China and Russia may sign up to control AI but if it is in their best interest, they will continue development in the dark.  As for the good of the application, I use it regularly to research subjects and I must say it is quite unique. 

God Bless America and Pray for the Ukraine.

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Thomas FieldsThomas “Tuffy” Fields is an author and regular contributor to The Gazette. He can …

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