RESEARCHERS have pieced together the map of artificial intelligence’s future, showing the certainty machines will one day exceed man.
By SEAN MARTIN
PUBLISHED: 04:01, Thu, Nov 17, 2016 | UPDATED: 08:03, Thu, Nov 17, 2016
The rise of AI now seems inevitable with many experts, including Stephen Hawking, stating the invention of smart machines will be the biggest ever impact on humanity.
However, there has been a lack of clarity about when and how the takeover of machines will occur, but one leading researcher has now mapped out AI’s future progress.
Arend Hintz, assistant professor of integrative biology & computer science and engineering at Michigan State University, says the rise of AI truly began in the 1990s with “reactive machines”.
Mr Hintz said that the most basic types of AI are neither able to form memories or learn from past experiences, pointing to IBM’s chess-playing supercomputer, Deep Blue, which managed to beat chess world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.While Deep Blue was able to identify the pieces on a chessboard and know where to move them, it had no concept of learning from past games to improve.
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Mr Hintz wrote in an article for The Conversation: “This type of intelligence involves the computer perceiving the world directly and acting on what it sees. It doesn’t rely on an internal concept of the world.”
The next stage, or Type II, will have limited memory.
Some self-driving cars already have the ability in the form of observing other cars’ movement and speed, which cannot be done in a single moment as it needs to measure the criteria against other objects for reference.
The scientist writes: “But these simple pieces of information about the past are only transient.
“They aren’t saved as part of the car’s library of experience it can learn from, the way human drivers compile experience over years behind the wheel.”
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Then comes the theory of mind stage, which is where some researchers believe the development of AI should halt.
Robots in this stage “not only form representations about the world, but also about other agents or entities in the world”.
This is a psychological concept which is the understanding that beings in the world can have thoughts and emotions which influence their own behavior – something that scientists state was essential in humanity becoming the most dominant race on Earth.
Mr Hintz: “This is crucial to how we humans formed societies, because they allowed us to have social interactions.
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“Without understanding each other’s motives and intentions, and without taking into account what somebody else knows either about me or the environment, working together is at best difficult, at worst impossible.”
He adds that if AI is to ever walk among us, it will have to understand that other beings have thoughts and emotions too.
The final stage would be self-awareness, which would see robots designed with consciousness.
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However, for this step to be achieved, scientists need to understand what consciousness actually is.
Mr Hintz continued: “Conscious beings are aware of themselves, know about their internal states, and are able to predict feelings of others.
“We assume someone honking behind us in traffic is angry or impatient, because that’s how we feel when we honk at others.”
Once this stage is achieved, AI will be as intelligent as humans, and will be on its way to exceeding the human race.