I read a Wired article earlier today that got me really thinking. It was an interview with Ray Kurzweil, an expert in the field of Artificial Intelligence.
Kurzweil believes that the creation of a robot that feels emotion is not fiction, but instead a near-future possibility.
You should really look at the interview, you will learn a lot: http://www.wired.com/business/2013/04/kurzweil-google-ai/
We have all grown up with science fiction horror stories of how Conscious AIs will one day destroy us all. Terminator is the most common series that depicts this apocalyptic scenario.
The type of intelligence that Kurzweil is envisioning for his work at Google is not so mass murdery. It is a type of program that no longer just searches key-words in your query, but instead picks up on the expression you place within your question. The program will be able to understand what you MEAN when you say something, instead of just analyzing the words for what they are.
This inference of meaning is a monumental step toward true Artificial Intelligence. It is no longer about pre-programmed responses and logical equations. This digital brain will be able to analyze what you say, create a context outside of logical thought, and piece together a response that will fit exactly what you mean to ask.
An extremely simple example would be the Guess What? child’s game. Imagine asking your computer, “Guess what?”, and instead of it trying to create a response from a million things you could mean by asking that, it will automatically understand through its own cognitive process that your are trying to make a joke and will answer with, “Chicken Butt”.
You may think, “Wow Alex, any computer can do that.” Yes they can, but only if they are programmed for that response. This computer will have never been told that joke, but through its own inferences on humor, it will understand that it IS a joke and respond accordingly.
For Google, this would mean they could get you EXACTLY what you are looking for when you search something. You could ask complex questions and receive answers that specifically answer that question without sifting through thousands of pages. It would be able to grab the few pages that address the exact issue you are trying to resolve, just by reading into the contexts of what you wrote.
For all of us bloggers this will exponentially increase our viewership. Instead of our posts being on page 3000 no matter what someone searches, the search engine will understand the viewer wants exactly what we wrote about and will bypass the clutter to bring us to the front page.
I am probably confusing you with all of my examples and stuff, but I think this is incredible. I get all hyper and giddy when I see sci-fi stuff coming to life.
If this is created, it will revolutionize the way we search for information on the internet. Heck, it will drastically speed up the rate at which we can consume information, which is insane because we absorb information faster now than we ever have in the history of human existence.
Kurzweil estimates us having this technology by 2029. Only 13 more years.
Let’s fast forward 20 instead. Imagine the ramifications this will have on robotics technology. Imagine carrying around your cell phone, but instead of having a conversation with a friend, you are having an in-depth conversation with the phone itself.
With the program we are talking about, the machine will arguably be conscious. It will be able to respond to your words as a human would, with context and emotional understanding. If you are sad, it will understand and try to find ways to comfort you. If you get promoted at work, it will find restaurants and ask which friends to invite for the celebration party. All on its own, without being programmed to.
Doesn’t make iRobot seem so far off now huh?
As far as the PR and Advertising industries are concerned, I am worried there will be a battle on our hands when this arrives. Once this amazing technology hits the world, everyone is going to try to be a part of it.
I want to talk about the effect this will have on the industry more, but I will have to do it at a later time when I have more research to support my theories.
For now, if you have any thoughts on this please comment below with them. I love having discussions on topics like this and I love getting other people’s perspectives.