We are still years away from creating self-aware, walking and talking robots, capable of taking over the world and destroying the human race. Until then, we are ready to make an electronic form of robots that assist us in our lives. The technology that is helping create this new wave of development is artificial intelligence.
We may laugh at Apple’s Siri digital assistant, with all her flaws, amusing responses and ways that she misinterprets our questions, but her very existence is down right amazing. She combines voice recognition, access to every growing databases and algorithmic logic that helps her “get” what it is that we are asking. Users of Google’s voice tools and Amazon’s Alexa say that those products are much better than poor stupid Siri.
Artificial intelligence is in the news. Actually, it writes the news! Little do people know, but the news services, like Reuters and Associated Press often use artificial intelligence to write articles. A human jots down a few snippets of the facts of a story, people involved and a tone for an article, push a button and out pops a story that looks as if it was written by a human. Most of the TV stations and newspapers then use those articles as a basis for their own, or just directly republish them. In 2015 over 1 billion articles were written by computers.
So who holds the the keys to the kingdom and reins over this god-like power? Interestingly, two of the largest artificial intelligence companies are owned by sports statistics companies. They purchased the companies to more quickly get articles onto the news services, during sporting events. The geniuses at these companies are the kinds of guys who could tell you obscure sports trivia. As a group, they are generally intelligent, thoughtful and kind and not the kind of people who would build “Skynet.”
Some of the new wave of bots that come out will do simple things and will probably come included with apps. For example, a bot may go out and buy tickets to a show for you, from Ticket Liquidator or Ticketmaster. Or they may buy groceries for you and have them delivered, before you run out of milk.
We will have robotic programs that do lots of helpful things for us, but thankfully, we are probably years away from being destroyed by evil robots.