There is great debate about Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and when we will see that. Some speculate it is decades down the road while others believe we will never see it. All sides of this debate are filled with extremely smart people who truly understand what is taking place. Nevertheless, nobody has any clue when, or if, we will see AGI.
What is being developed today is Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI). This means that we create a software program to do a specific thing. Through machine learning, we can see improvement that looks like "intelligence" is being created. The problem is that this is misleading.
For example, there are some incredible automated trading programs available for stocks and other assets. They can "learn" over time to better apply the indicators, improving the performance.
The problem with this is that no matter how smart the software becomes, it cannot tell the difference between a cat and a horse. If fact, the program has no concept of what those things are.
At this point, nobody really cares. As long as my software can trade, if something is needed to tell the difference between two animals, there is software that does it.
None of this means that things are still rudimentary. Quite the contrary. We are seeing some advanced stuff rolling out. In fact, we are moving beyond the era of algorithms to just target advertise you.
Corporations are finding they can develop some very advanced applications for their customers to use.
Check out this promo video by Disney.
Just think of all that went into the development and design of this. Here we see something that is free to use while on vacation. The application will use information that gathered to plan one's stay.
How often have we wanted a personal assistant when on vacation in helping us to plan things? At those times we mostly went down to the front desk and asked the person there. When visiting Disney, that is no longer necessary.
This is just one example of how things are developing. Every major corporation is creating applications for their customers to use. At this point, the advancement in them is really taking things to another level.
While none of this can be considered "intelligence" in the general sense, we are seeing an interesting unfold.
Since these applications (filled with all kinds of powerful algorithms) is getting so advanced, we are seeing another layer added to our world. This layer is expanding around the globe simply because we are coding more of these.
While we will not likely see human level understanding from computers for decades, that does not mean we cannot get the advantage of ANI to a much greater degree.
From what I can see, AI progress is still using the same computational power combined with data model. We see great leaps forward because the amount of data we are producing is increasing exponentially and we are continually feeding them into more powerful devices. Of course, the fact that we are also getting better at provide "clean" data to these neural networks means the impact keeps growing.
Many still contest the idea that we are going to lose a lot of jobs to technology. After all, we always created more jobs than we lost due to our technological progress.
To me, that is a thing of the past. Unlike the other revolutions, we saw transitions take decades. Even with automation in the manufacturing realm, we saw this take place over a 30-40 years period. It was also relegated to the blue collar realm, pushing many people into the white collar sectors.
This is changing. Robotics is a very difficult technology. Progress is slow as compared to the algorithm based software that goes after office jobs. We are even seeing RPAs which can be trained in a few months to replace an employee.
The application designed by Disney probably will not replace many (if any) jobs. This is a product created to enhance the customer experience. However, it does exemplify the stage we are at. The system takes advanced search, matches it with inputted criteria and ends up operating as a personal assistant.
Nevertheless, we can see this advancing forward so that jobs are in jeopardy. We do not need to arrive at AGI to see things change a great deal. If we simply keep producing enough algorithmic based applications (software), we will get a similar result, at least from an employment standpoint.
This is going to take over the business world during the next decade. Any company that is heavily dependent upon interaction with personnel will end up falling behind. We only need to look at what Amazon™ is trying to do with the grocery industry. They are going into physical retail but with a twist: automate as much as humanly possible.
The idea of an application like Disney just produced was a wild fantasy a few years ago. Yet here we are.
Where do you think we will be in 5-7 years?
It is getting very hard to fathom.
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