For those of us growing up in the 80’s and 90’s and brought up on films such as the Terminator movies, A.I. or Artificial Intelligence to give it its’ full title was something so way in the future, that whilst it fascinated and scared us, it wasn’t something we had to worry about too much “in our lifetime”.
But something is happening, something bubbling away in the background.
A.I. is already here and it is impacting on our lives right now.
We may have already interacted with an A.I. today and not even released it.
Maybe, but true.
In this article, we are looking at 5 crazy things about A.I. and how it is impacting and changing our lives in 2019.
Anyway, back to the Terminator films.
I was so mesmerized like many of us back then, about how a machine, an intelligent computer could become so intelligent, so intelligently superior to mankind that they could eradicate the human race and take over the world.
A man-made threat, not a virus, or nature or war with each other, but something we’d created to help us, that turned against us.
Some would argue that it is a natural evolution. The next dominant species to rule the earth. Quite ironic that we developed it.
So, therefore, I grew up with a healthy suspicion and dislike for robots in our lives.
But at the same time, I am intrigued about how far we, as humans can go, how far can we take it, what can we do with A.I.?
Can we create androids as I’ve seen on Dr Who or Humans (TV shows in the UK)?. That have their own tribes, their own leaders and see themselves as separate from humanity, their creators.
Remember Davros and the Daleks?
A dark part of me thinks that the irony of man creating something that destroys them instead of helping them is well ironic.
But take a look around us.
Technology has been creeping up on us for the past 40 or so years.
I have the benefit of growing up from the ’70s onwards. So I get that (just) pre and post computer perspective.
In the past 40 odd years, we’ve seen….
The first basic computers (Commodores, BBC), calculators, Walkman’s, electric cars, laptops, CD’s, DVD’s, video recorders, cash machines, internet, Self-driving cars, self-flying Drones, iPods, Amazon Echo, the list goes on.
Hang on though I hear you cry…that’s, not A.I.
Well yes, it is of a sort, whilst they don’t have independent thoughts, they are programmed to act out something for us, with us, on behalf of us.
Amazon Echo and similar devices are A.I.
They listen and process and then advertise back to you.
What is that, if not an A.I. device?
Do you have one in your home, let me know below in the comments box.
I heard of a story recently, a friend of a friend has an Echo in their home.
They had it on over Christmas as it was a gift.
The family were talking about amongst themselves that they hadn’t received any Slippers for Christmas.
About an hour later the Echo starts talking about ‘how would they like to buy some slippers’ on Amazon at a good price?
If that’s not just a little bit creepy or spooky, then I don’t know what is.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against all IT and A.I.
I actually love a lot of it, it helps a lot.
But where will it all end?
and what will it mean for us… in the end?
Did any of you watch the last series of X-files in 2018?
The one where all the A.I. fight back just because Mulder didn’t give a tip at the restaurant run by robots?
From the A.I. restaurant eating his credit card and locking them in the restaurant, to their homes with their A.I. temperature controls, and door locks and alarms to the driverless taxi not letting Scully out and driving at top speed through the streets.
It was scary and exciting at the same time.
That can impact and affect your lives, are here my friend and we don’t even realise it or give it much thought.
I was thinking of my grandad recently. He was over 100 when he passed away and he was born in 1914.
He saw everything from the first early cars, to planes, rockets, satellites, and all that followed. He kept up, he didn’t seem that fazed by it all.
Why wasn’t he fazed?
He’d witnessed the end of the industrial revolution to the start of the digital revolution.
Machines were doing many human roles by the time he left us in 2016.
He had his 3d TV and even had a mobile phone. His mind was great, he knew what was going on in his life. But his concern was more about politics and countries than anything.
But the fact was it crept up on him.
Slowly, covertly, his world had changed beyond recognition from 1914. But he excepted that fact.
We will just accept it?
What happens if things go wrong and it becomes too late?
I was watching an old episode of XFiles (yes X-Files, I’m reliving the 90’s) last night from 1994 (S2, Ep5), Scully was using a cheque to pay for something at a supermarket.
I’d forgotten we even had those for shopping. It is creeping up on us too.
Well A.I. will increase and speed up as it has over the past few years.
It is becoming more run of the mill, more acceptable because a lot of the time we don’t even know it is A.I.
It impacts on what we buy (ECHO), to where we drive (GPS).
At the same time Businesses are encouraged to think of A.I. as part of their overall service and delivery.
A.I. is the future and it is here to stay.
Businesses need to get with the idea or lose out and lose out big time.
‘Cognizant’ a Digital Business who helps clients imagine and build the Digital Economy have written a white paper entitled: A.I.: Ready for Business
Cognizant talk about this in their report (see at the end for link)…
“Artificial intelligence (A.I.) is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. On the one hand, A.I. has jumped from esoteric laboratory to full embrace, with a speed and ferocity that has caught even its supporters by surprise.
On the other hand, for many, A.I.’s behind-the-scenes and often ephemeral nature disguises its dramatic and long-term potential contribution to business. Whether fully embraced or lurking behind the scenes, the numbers are clear – A.I. is big, important and transformative.
Companies ignore A.I. at their peril”.
They want to encourage businesses to adopt A.I. in the right ways, with transparency, trust and personalization. Being clear where they are using it, be honest about it, but making sure it is in the customer’s best interests.
A lot of businesses online, for example, use Chat Bots.
I saw a talk recently on Chat Bots, they are little programmes that sit on a web page and chat to the visitor as if they (the chatbot not the customer) are a real person, talking to a real person.
Many of us cannot tell the difference. They are that good.
The 5 crazy things Artificial Intelligence will be doing in 2020…
1. A.I. Predicting the future….
At the present time, Artificial Intelligence is being used to look at why things are happening, why something occurs.
The cause and effect, understanding why something has happened.
By looking at vast sections of information and data, it is able to look at patterns of behaviour and give analysis about why something happened.
For example, large supermarkets looking at sales dates/seasons, customer purchasing trends.
Linking this information to what they predicted and what actually happened when what they thought was going to happen, never did.
Well A.I. is changing all that, they are analysing data and trends that go way beyond the usual computer programmes and then making predictions about what will happen based on known cause and effect.
Increasing the accuracy of people’s decisions and how they may react.
Cleverer predictions rather than predictions made just on the seasons, weather predictions and what they think will happen.
Facebook, for example, is using A.I type programmes to predict our interest in products and service and then using this to advertise to us.
Google is doing the same.
Last year I was researching offices in the garden, sheds that type of thing, for the next 6 months on every device I linked to with my Google account I had adverts for home offices in the garden.
‘They’ (the mystical ‘They’) are using A.I to predict your movements and spending power.
A powerful tool for businesses and profits.
An American author, inventor and futurist Raymond Kurzweil has become well known for his predictions about artificial intelligence and the human species.
He predicts that Artificial Intelligence will be cleverer than the human brain in computational capabilities by the mid-21st century.
Out of 147 predictions that he has made since the 1990s, 127 of them have come true.
How advanced will this get?
Will we see employers using it to predict the suitability of us for jobs?
Or future partners using it to predict our potential as marriage prospects?
Who can say if banks are already using it to predict our ability to pay back a mortgage?
2. Smile please, you are on A.I. recognition.
Have you got a Google account for your photos?
Have you noticed how as if by magic your holiday snaps and pictures of the kids are being sorted into categories? Well, I have.
I was a bit shocked to see that my photos have been sorted into kids, pets, garden, seaside, smiles, and a variety of other folders ‘for my leisure’.
I didn’t do it, some A.I. programme did.
A.I. programmes for face, body, landscape analysis and recognition for problems and other types of scenarios, recognising things from diseases in our bodies, who we are, and where and when we are, in the world.
A.I. checking electricity pylons at risk of trees falling on them via self-flying A.I drones.
This isn’t Dr Who, this is real.
Cognizant talks about new applications of A.I. in the form of screening people for diseases much earlier. Which is a great advance.
This can help healthcare practitioners detect diabetic retinopathy (DR) earlier and more accurately.
DR is a serious eye disease associated with long-standing diabetes that results in progressive damage to the retina, eventually leading to blindness.
However, if we can detect it earlier on, vision impairment can be prevented with laser treatments.
A.I. can do this and save people’s sight. I love that.
Warnings of a Dark Side to A.I.
In an article from Health Care, New York Times (see below for link);
The article talks about and highlights that by changing a few pixels on a lung scan, for instance, someone could fool an A.I. system into seeing an illness that is not really there, or not seeing one that is.
The darker side of this is that unscrupulous doctors, hospitals and other organisations could manipulate the A.I. in billing or insurance software in an effort to maximize the money coming their way.
That is something worth talking about.
Companies are looking at using A.I to predict coastal erosion, looking at risks of a landslide.
Additionally, A.I. can be used to look for Bridges at risk of collapse or for predators like sharks moving into populated areas such as beaches.
This is all great in terms of damage limitation.
But what I want to know is…
are they looking at us in our back gardens for nudist sunbathing?
Or fashion disasters whilst out washing one’s car?
Or Builders bum cleavage whilst digging roads?
In my opinion, that type of A.I. is essential.
Seriously though, what is to stop governments using A.I. to spy on citizens in a dictatorial state?
3. Artificial Intelligence is listening to You.
As I’ve mentioned Amazon Echo and other smart speakers such as Siri are in our homes.
I personally don’t have one, I don’t like the idea of being listened to by an outside device, it gives me the creeps.
But many of us are welcoming them into our homes. That’s fine, I don’t judge.
We can ask them to order things for us at the supermarket, or online, select music for us, set reminders to buy a card or put something in our calendars.
Call our parents and a whole lot of other cool things.
In adult social care we’ve been exploring the use of these devices to support people at home to live independently;
- Maybe set reminders for them,
- get their shopping delivered,
- turn on the lights and
- close the curtains, that type of thing.
But we have them, they are a reality in 2019, they will increase to be so, in 2020.
They are listening to us.
They are also talking to us.
Chatbots, as I’ve said, are infiltrating their way online, masking themselves as human beings when they ask in service centres…can I help you?
When in fact they are pieces of A.I. replacing a person.
When the conversation goes further they then hand you over to a human being to speak with.
All very seamless and you might not even know you are talking to one.
Ali-Baba a wholesale business online has an A.I. software that is able to deal with conversations that are not necessarily the norm. It can cope with such things as conversations and interruptions.
The upside of all of this is as we do more business online and less of it on the telephone, being stuck in stacking queue for hours on end, “press 1 for your life back, press 2 to end your life because we don’t let you speak to anyone” type of thing.
4. Humans merging with A.I.
Think about it, what do you keep next to your bed? In your car? On the train? In your pocket?
Hell, I even take mine into the shower to listen to music.
Yes, your mobile device.
I was living in Japan from the late ’90s until the early 2,000’s. They were where we are now.
Yes in 1999 I watched a Japanese student watching TV on his mobile on the train, in 1999. We didn’t have that here until well, about 2005. It might have been much later. Especially in Devon where we have very patchy wi-fi access.
At the time I was fascinated, and my partner and I vowed never to have a mobile, “we don’t need them, everyone is on them all the time, buck against it, fight the tech”.
Well fast-forward 20 years and what do we have?
Yes, my mobile is like my arm or a foot, I need it, I take it everywhere, I use it to communicate, to listen to eBooks in the car whilst commuting.
Darn it, it even wakes me up every morning.
When did this creep up on me? When did I merge with the TECH?
When did I become meshed with A.I.?
My phone gives me monthly reports on where I have been, which cities I have visited? How many hours I’ve been in a car, walking etc.
Yes I can turn it off, well I think I can, but like a moth to a flame, I am quietly mesmerized by what it can do. I can’t help it.
And we all know what happens to a moth when it gets too near the flame.
We are fast merging with A.I. and TECH.
Think of virtual reality.
Living in another world.
My son loves his Minecraft.
He spends a few hours every Saturday building his very clever virtual world.
He talks about his virtual dogs like they are alive.
For this generation, it is a given that part of their life is online. In Cyberspace.
Living in another reality.
Gamers, bloggers, chatters, facebookers, etc all live online. We are becoming meshed with A.I. and TECH.
We even date online. Create another identity to the one we are.
As I’ve said A.I. and our tech is both watching what we do, look at, buy and interact with and report on it to sell us stuff or guide us to certain interests.
Over the next year or so further A.I. advances are coming.
A.I. that can support our bodily functions, our hearing or limbs that need replacing.
We’ve been moving from handsets to headsets (seen those little plug in wireless speakers), talking to oneself is not a sign of madness anymore just someone on the phone.
The advances being made will bring with it computer systems with more reality and less virtual, as our demands on what we want increases.
How we interact with our devices will increase and for those using them may prefer to be living within those, rather than outside of A.I. as we become more enmeshed in the cyber world.
Elon Musk the brilliant forward-thinking tech person of the 21st century has raised investment to look at how we move away from physical devices, such as mobiles to using implanted chips.
Implanted chips, yes you heard me right and I’m not talking the chips you eat either. (Pass the salt and vinegar there Elon).
It is called ‘Neuro lace’ technology, which fuses a piece of a computer into your brain.
Basically, plugging your mobile phone directly into the brain and dialling with just your thoughts, that’s the way it’s going here, folks.
(oh, pass me the bucket, I feel a bit sick).
The idea is that it can boost one’s IQ and their ability to function and complete certA.I.n tasks. Also, upload or download your thoughts.
Now, this is getting a bit George Orwell 1984 and a bit Robocop for me.
But it is interesting all the same.
Again that moth is flying towards that flame.
5. Take me to the supermarket, please…Um, Mr Car.
One of the things I am excited about and also a bit scared of after seeing that X-files episode I mentioned earlier, is the driverless cars.
Yes, they do exist now. They are out there.
Tesla was one of the first up, good old Elon Musk pipped most to the post and developed a self-driving car. But of course, the other car manufacturers were waiting in the wings to see if it would all go belly up.
Well so far so good.
So others are following suit.
Names such as Audi, Volvo, and even Nissan are looking to or are releasing their own versions with advanced self-driving technology.
Nissan’s webpage talks about the advances in this area of their business and state:
“Soon, your car will be able to take the stress out of driving and leave only the joy. It will pick you up, navigate heavy traffic, and find parking all on its’ own. And at the push of a button, it gives you back control of the wheel.
It will even be able to communicate with other cars and pedestrians.
Nissan is testing advanced autonomous driving on public roads today, which means this revolutionary driving experience is within reach.”
Wow. Even Nissan is going driverless.
BI Intelligence state that by 2020, 10 million cars on the road will be driverless.
Without a doubt, we are going to be seeing more driverless cars on the roads in 2020.
Well no doubt about it Artificial Intelligence and TECH is here to stay, it is already here and we are embracing it (or not really seeing it), but it can help us and does help us.
There are lots of great benefits, a faster more convenient life in this fast-paced and stressful world we live in.
But there are aspects which are a bit well, scary.
Brain fused chips sound like a Star Trek fantasy but will be a reality in the very near future.
I only ask that I can have one so I can play the Piano without having to take lessons, oh and speak Chinese, maybe dance a great Tango and…(Jeff is making a list, he’ll be back in a mo’).
There are Data Protection issues that need to be considered. Faceless organisations like Google and Amazon are great, but do they know too much about us?
Do we really care?
Are we moving into a covert, secret, veiled A.I. world or will it be open, transparent and honest?
I think it will be a mixture of both the above as it with anything, there’s always dark and light, good and bad.
On a side note…I’m quite looking forward to a driverless car so when I am old, and I cannot drive I can still get about.
Taxi’s are so expensive, aren’t they?
For us as business owners, entrepreneurs, well it has great potential to transform our businesses.
Being forward thinking and not a ‘head stuck in the sand’ type of person makes us Entrepreneurs.
But doing it in the right way makes us use these advances in the right way for those we serve in our communities online.
I hope that I have given you some things to think about and at least sparked some ideas in your mind.
If you want to read more of my musings and articles have a look here on my blog on the Axe your 9 to 5 website.
Or if you want to see what education I am getting that is changing my life around and getting out of the 9 to 5 by building my own online business, there are 7 free videos that will blow your mind.
They will show you that there are alternatives out there that any person can achieve if they want to. Act here for the videos.
So, what do you think about Artificial Intelligence? Leave a comment below and let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts about A.I. (or X-files for that matter).
Take back control.
Warnings of a Dark Side to A.I. in Health Care, New York Times.