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Table of Contents
Figure 1: The Turing Test……………………………………………..5
Figure 2: Amazon’s Alexa……………………………………………..5
Figure 3: Waymo…………………………………………………..6
Figure 4: The Trolley Problem………………………………………….7
Artificial intelligence is one of the world’s most exciting fields in technology. From high-end artificial intelligence to low-end artificial intelligence, it has clawed its way into the lives of many. This report will be on artificial intelligence and its development will be discussed.
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Artificial intelligence, a relatively new area of study has been increasingly mentioned in mainstream media and social media. Due to its increase in credibility and popularity, artificial intelligence as a degree in universities is on the rise, although the degree is not just simply known as ‘Artificial intelligence’ (Sloman, 1998). This is because key structures and ideas of artificial intelligence have been implemented in other degrees like computing science and software engineering. But what really is artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence is hard to describe but to talk about what artificial intelligence is, intelligence itself needs to be addressed. Intelligence is also quite a hard concept to understand but, according to the Oxford dictionary, intelligence is “A person or being with the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.” (OxfordLivingDictionaries, 2018). All living things display some form of intelligence; from the vast intelligence of the homosapien to the more limited intelligence of rats. So how does that definition of intelligence tie into the definition of artificial intelligence?
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Even though AI has no general definition, as intelligence itself has no definition without being related to human intelligence, AI can be seen as the science of creating intelligent machines (McCarthy, 1998). It can also be seen as the capability of a machine to imitate human behaviour.
The term “Artificial intelligence” was first used more than 70 years ago but became more prevalent in the 1950s due to a mathematician named Alan Turing, born on 23rd of June 1912, who invented and developed the Turing Test. Alan Turing proposed that a test could determine whether a “being” has the ability of intelligence as his test was designed to see if a machine can be intelligent.
How does the Turing test work? The Turing Test works by placing two humans and a computer in separate rooms. One of the humans is seen as the interrogator and is asked questions by both the human and the computer, with the identity of both the human and the computer being unbeknownst to the interrogator, (see Figure 1). For the machine to pass the Turing Test, the interrogator must determine if they are communicating to a machine or a human. If the machine manages to convince the interrogator that they are communicating with a human, it is concluded that the machine has passed the test. If the machine passes the Turing Test, it can be “intelligent” or “have a mind of its own” (Floridi, 2010).
Figure 1: The Turing Test represented in a diagram. Available at http://filipinofreethinkers.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Turing-test.png
Since AI is a diverse field of study, there are many sections that AI can be put into, but AI can be split into two main groups:
- Weak AI
- Strong AI
Weak AI is an AI system that gives the impression that it has its own thoughts. Weak AI uses weak methods such as auto reasoning and logic to solve complex problems. This gives the impression that the software is intelligent in the way a human being is intelligent, when that is not the case as it is not sentient (Coppin, 2004).
A good example of a product that uses weak AI is “Alexa” (see Figure 2), an Amazon product that was released on November 2014 (Wikipedia, 2018). “Alexa” is a virtual personal assistant that is used in Amazon products like the Amazon echo. “Alexa” can perform a range of tasks from creating shopping lists to telling weather forecasts (tom’s guide, 2018).
Figure 2: Amazon Echo that contains Alexa. Available at https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41-v1fozy0L.jpg
Strong AI, also referred to as artificial general intelligence (AGI), is an AI system that has equal intelligence to a human being. An AI system could be considered “strong” if it can make judgements, have the ability to reason, communicate by itself and basically behave like a human. It does this by being given a large amount of information. With the large amount of information given to the AI system, it is proposed that the system would become a sentient being as it is able to solve complex “real world problems” (Coppin, 2004).
An example of strong AI could be the concept of the development of a human brain. With the AI system initially starting off as a child-like mind. This will then develop over time into an adult-like mind with the use of machine learning, (maxbrainfunction, 2018).
With the technological advances that AI has been making in recent years, it is no surprise that they have been incorporated and used in people’s lives seamlessly.
A new up and coming use of AI is in the use of self-driving cars. Its exactly what it says on the tin. A car that can drive itself. A great example of this is Googles self-driving car, “Waymo” (see Figure 3). Technology like this comes with some great benefits, that could provide ease in peoples lives. Passengers of the self-driving cars wouldn’t have to worry about the general aspects of owning a car from; car insurance to the cost of petrol to car maintenance. The need for parking would also be eliminated with the use of self-driving cars. This would also affect the designing and planning of cities as “With cars able to drive themselves and shared amongst riders, there would be no need for parking spaces” (Danryd, 2018). Jeff Dean, a 2012 ACM prize in computing recipient, also agrees that self-driving cars will affect the designs of cities as “we’ll start to see dramatic changes in even things like how cities and neighbourhoods are designed as self-driving cars become more widespread” (Artificial Intelligence, 2017).
Figure 3: Waymo, Google’s self-driving car. Available at https://media.wired.com/photos/5a6fbe7d68851b1549e7d280/master/pass/Waymo-Minivan.jpg
AI has also made its way into people’s homes with previously mentioned devices such as Amazons “Alexa”. AI can be seen in people’s homes through other types of technology such as “Nest Cam”, an advanced security system that uses AI to able to recognise the difference between different things, from the family of the household, to intruders, to a cat strolling by (PopularScience, 2018).
One of the main worries about AI; the decline in jobs as AI systems become more prevalent in the modern world. With robotics already taking countless workers jobs in manufacturing, the introduction of AI into the job market will ultimately lead to countless more jobs being taken. According to UBS, a multinational investment bank and financial services company, “50-75 million jobs worldwide that will be affected due to the advent of AI” (UBS, 2018).
If an AI system is sentient, ethics issues come into argument. As humans must make real world decisions, so would AI. Questions regarding the situation would arise like does the same human morality apply to AI morality? Should humans treat AI ethically and would AI treat us ethically. One major worry is the decision making of AI. “Sometimes ethicists posit situations in which AI must choose between two actions with unpleasant consequences, and ask what the device should do” (Parnas, 2017). A great example of this would be the Trolley Problem (See Figure 4). The Trolley problem is an ethics problem which sees a person observing a trolley move towards five people who are tied up on the track. The person is next to a lever which can switch the trolley to another track that has only one person tied up. The person can now make two choices; they can do nothing and allow the trolley to kill the five people or they can pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the other track killing one person. Would an AI be capable of making this kind of decision?
Figure 4. The Trolley Problem. Available at https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8c/Trolley_problem.png/1200px-Trolley_problem.png
AI is a fast-evolving field in science and has changed the dynamics of how this world operates. Due to Alan Turing’s research and development with the “Turing Test”, AI has rapidly developed from the early 1950s to the present day. With low level AI such as “Alexa” which have been making more of a presence in people’s homes to more advanced AI such as “Waymo” which will change the way we travel and the way our cities and towns look forever. AI continues to shape the way people operate in the modern world and will continue to do so in the upcoming years.
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