Artificial intelligence has been changing our lives for decades, but never has AI felt more ubiquitous than now. To get an a realistic handle on what that future might look like, Tech Insider spoke to 18 artificial intelligence researchers, roboticists, and computer scientists about the single most profound change artificial intelligence could bring.
- Pieter Abele says robots will keep us safer, especially from disasters:
AI for robotics will allow us to address the challenges in taking care of an aging population and allow much longer independence.
It’ll enable drastically reducing, maybe even bringing to zero, traffic accidents and deaths. And enable disaster response for dangerous situations, for example, the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima power plant.
2. Shimon White son says we will all become cyborgs:
I really think in the future we are all going to be cyborgs. I think this is something that people really underestimate about AI. They have a tendency to think, there’s us and then there are computers. Maybe the computers will be our friends and maybe they’ll be our enemies, but we’ll be separate from them.
Society is already wrestling with difficult questions about privacy and security that have been raised by the internet. Imagine when the internet is in your brain, if the NSA can see into your brain, if hackers can hack into your brain. Imagine how much more productive we would be if we could augment our brains with infallible memories and infallible calculators.
3. Thomas Dietrich doesn’t stop there; he hopes AI will turn us into superhuman:
I think combinations of human and artificial intelligence are fascinating and have potential to create combined systems that are smarter than either alone. We already see this in many applications of AI — I’m smarter when I have access to Google.
4. Stuart Russell says very smart computers could solve all our problems, including climate change:
If you had a system that could read all the pages and understand the context instead of just throwing back 26 million pages to answer your query, that kind of program could actually answer the questions asked.
Everything we have of value as human beings, as a civilization, is the result of our intelligence and what AI could do is essentially be a power tool that magnifies human intelligence and gives us the ability to move our civilization forward in all kinds of ways.
5. Oren E-zine says AI might even save the world:
When we’re talking about something that is at least 50 to 100, maybe even a thousand years away, it’s very speculative. But when and if we have that, I would say that the sky’s the limit.
I view today’s computers as soaped-up pencils but nowhere near the potential that they could have if they were able to perform effectively, much more sophisticated.
6. Joanna Bryson says some of these amazing applications are already here, and it’s making people easier to predict:
Basically what learning is about, including machine learning is using the past to make predictions about the future.
You might be able to predict who will start dating or who will get divorced. You can figure out when people are going to have kids sometimes by just the stuff they buy and what neighborhoods they move into. You can figure out more and more intimate details and be able to predict what each other will do.
7. These friendly robots could give the elderly live better lives, Matthew Taylor says:
As we have more of the population growing older, the better we can enable them to stay in their homes longer, the happier they are, and the healthier they are, the better it is for the whole healthcare system.
I think all of that am pretty low hanging fruit stuff that will be easy to develop in the next few years. It will really cause a big change to that population, allowing them higher quality of life and also letting them stay in their homes longer.
8. They’ll also improve medical care, Murray Shanahan says:
A very important implication of the kind of AI technology that’s coming soon will be in the area of personalized medicine. A great application of machine learning technology applied to big data is in personalized medicine.
At the moment, medicine is very statistical and treatments are tailored for large populations and not for the individual so I think that will have a dramatic effect.
9. Toby Walsh says these impacts will completely revolutionize how we live and work:
I think we’re going to see similar profound changes in the nature of work, as much as that work can be automated even further by computers. It’s hard to think of a job that a computer ultimately won’t be able to do as well if not better than we can do.
One of the great challenges is that computers and AI as a technology are very quickly adopted. The great thing about computers is that you can reproduce the software almost at no cost. So once we have the technology it gets very easy to reproduce the technology and disseminate it.
The changes that we see precipitated by changes in computing are ones that tend to happen very quickly. The challenge there is that society tends to change rather slowly.
10. But there are some downsides. Bart Selman says robots will take over many of our jobs:
The US and I think most of the world has pushed hard on this idea of knowledge workers — you should get an education, you should educate yourself and stay ahead of the changing world. That may become actually become somewhat difficult.
When a AI-based medical doctor becomes cheaper, why not switch all medical doctors to smart computer programs and have a few remaining human specialists for very special cases.
That’s sort of one of the risks that AI people are worried about. It’s a societal risk. Society will have to adapt. How we will adapt is not fully clear yet. But I think it’s something we’ll have to think about.