How Artificial Intelligence is changing the world
If you think artificial intelligence is going to change the future, you're wrong. It is already changing the present.
Every search we do on Google, Tesla's semi-autonomous cars and the recommendation systems of Youtube, Spotify or Netflix already involve complex artificial intelligence systems. But this is still just the beginning.
In this post, we are going to show how artificial intelligence is an old technology, why it has gained so much relevance in recent years and how it is transforming different sectors, from health to education, and why it will completely change the future.
Artificial intelligence basically consists of the ability of computers to think intelligently, that is, to derive conclusions from logical reasoning. Although it seems, this is far from new - Alan Turing, in 1950, already questioned that, if we humans can use information and our reasoning ability to make decisions, why could machines not do the same? MIT's own artificial intelligence lab was founded in 1959. Since then, the technology has gone through several bouts of hype and disillusionment. But why is it only in the last few years that Artificial Intelligence has finally taken off?
The answer lies mainly in the ability to store and process information. For decades, our computers were still too weak to actually perform complex artificial intelligence operations.
Already today, an iPhone is much more powerful than the computers that took man to the moon, for example.
In addition, we are producing an amount of data like never before in history. 90% of the world's data was generated in the last 2 years alone. And it is precisely this large amount of data that is the main requirement for training machine learning systems, or machine learning - the type of artificial intelligence that has just exploded and allowed the development of increasingly intelligent systems.
Let's now explore examples of how these systems have transformed various segments such as:
Engineering and design;
Have you ever thought if your teacher or even your parents knew how much you pay attention in the classroom?
Although it seems at least “uncomfortable” - this is precisely what the Chinese government has been testing in some of its schools. Each student receives a device that is attached to the head and that measures the level of concentration by capturing electrical signals emitted by the brain. From there, the device activates a light that visually indicates the level of concentration of each student, in addition to sending the information in real time to a database. With this, both the teacher and parents can access panels that show exactly the level of concentration of each student at different times of the day.
While the idea is quite controversial and definitely raises questions of where artificial intelligence should be able to go, apparently the results have been positive, with students actually being more focused and getting better grades.
Furthermore, even if you are against so much “invasion of privacy”, this is a type of technology that could very well be adopted to identify more efficient teaching methods or choose better teachers.
It's no secret that CFCs won't survive forever. At some point in the future we will have vehicles completely controlled by artificial intelligence, which will not even need steering wheels, completely ending the torture of listening to theoretical driving lessons.
On a scale of 5 levels of vehicle autonomy, where 1 represents some type of automatic assistance, such as accelerating or braking, and level 5 represents full autonomy, today's most advanced vehicles, such as Tesla or Waymo, are ranked among the level 2 and 3.
But when will we have vehicles at autonomy level 5? There are huge divergences in the sector. While some believe that this could happen in the next few years, others still see this as a distant scenario, which will still take a few decades.
Whatever the answer, while we may still be a long way from seeing fully autonomous vehicles on the street, even the current level is already much safer than a human in control for most day-to-day scenarios.
So, would you trust artificial intelligence to drive you to work or go on a big trip?
Engineering and Design
Design tools have evolved in recent years, moving from just 2D representations to true 3D simulations that allow exploring and anticipating problems and construction difficulties, for example. But most of these tools are still completely passive - they only show what we explicitly ask them to do.
Artificial intelligence will completely change that. Generative design tools will be able to suggest changes, optimize structures and simulate a series of variations to find the perfect design.
Tools like these have been used to design drones, airplane parts, racing vehicle wheels, urban city planning, and even works of art.
Another field full of transformations due to artificial intelligence is health.
With recent advances in artificial intelligence, it seems possible that the days of misdiagnosing and treating disease symptoms rather than the root cause will be behind us. Data generated in clinics and stored in electronic medical records enables more applications of artificial intelligence and high-performance data-driven medicine. These applications have changed and will continue to change the way clinicians and researchers approach clinical problem solving.
Several systems are already able to observe X-ray images and identify cancer cells much more accurately than experienced doctors. Recently, Elon Musk announced that Neuralink, one of his companies, has developed a chip that can be implanted in anyone's brain quickly and simply and that could in the future completely restore body movement in people who have suffered cervical spine injuries, store and even replay past memories, eliminating Alzheimer's and several other neurological conditions, such as depression, vision loss, insomnia, seizures, among others.
In addition, artificial intelligence has been widely used by companies around the world to develop vaccines for the coronavirus. These systems are capable of performing millions of simulations and indicating the alternatives that seem most promising, with the greatest probability of success in actually curing the disease.
It is true that the richest investor on the planet, Warren Buffett, made his fortune using fundamentalist methods to choose stocks - that is - Buffett was only concerned with the quality of the deal, and not with the short-term variation in stock prices.
However, the most successful investment fund in history uses a very different approach. Renaissance technologies, founded by Nobel Prize winner in Mathematics Jim Simons, was one of the first to use the “Quant trading” strategy - trading operated completely by computerized systems.
Simons recruited some of the world's brightest scientists and pioneered the use of artificial intelligence to extract patterns in the stock market and perform fully automated trading. The Medallion Fund, Renaissance's most successful fund, has an average return of 66% per year before performance fees. For comparison purposes, Warren Buffet's annual average is less than 20% per year!
Since its founding in 1988, Medallion has never had a year of negative returns. Including, even this year, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, in which a large part of the assets were devalued, until mid-April the fund reported gains of 24% for the year.
Nowadays, there are already thousands of funds that use artificial intelligence to operate assets on the stock exchange.
The Future of Artificial Intelligence
According to Stephen Hawking - artificial intelligence can be the best or worst of all human inventions. There is still great controversy about how dangerous this technology can become.
For now, the existing artificial intelligence systems are still extremely specific, that is, they can learn and make decisions only in relation to what they were specifically trained for. Netflix's movie recommendation system is only able to recommend movies. A Tesla car is only capable of driving. These systems are completely harmless.
However, with the exponential increase in data availability and the evolution of artificial intelligence algorithms, it is likely that one day we will have systems that are as smart as any human and that can literally learn about any subject, which is called general artificial intelligence. From that moment on, a scientific analysis worthy of a Nobel Prize, which usually takes years to discover, can be done by systems in a matter of days. The level of possible prosperity humanity would experience would be unthinkable.
On the other hand, nothing would stop an artificial intelligence system from deciding to build an army of robots and declare war on human beings. Elon Musk is one of the big names highly concerned with situations of this type of scenario.
The moment when this kind of superintelligence can be developed is called the singularity - from that moment on, we have no idea what can happen to the human race: absolute prosperity or total chaos. But that's a topic for another video.
Be part of the group of optimists or pessimists, one thing is for sure: the pace of evolution you see today will be the slowest you will see for the rest of your life.