Developments in artificial intelligence (AI) have been rapid over the last decade, with countless technologies now employing it in one way or other.
Whilst many positive uses have been found for AI in today's world (guiding planes, detecting spam emails, robo-readers and so on), the movie industry seems to have a gloomier idea about where the development of AI may take us (think Terminator and The Matrix).
Could companies like XP Power one day be seized by malevolent robots to be used as power sources in their campaign for world domination?
AI is still in its infancy
It is worth noting that real developments in AI have only occurred in the last decade or so, so it is still relatively new in both a technological and conceptual sense.
At the moment, AI is mainly being used to enhance organisational processes - eg using machine learning to help applications analyse data and become more accurate and efficient.
It hardly seems like a monstrous, all-consuming power which could one day take over the world and destroy humanity with killer cyborgs. So, it is currently very difficult to tell exactly where AI will go in the long term.
But it's growing fast…
The rate of technological development which the world is currently undergoing is truly phenomenal and unprecedented, and AI technology is no exception. As Elon Musk recently pointed out: 'We have an exponential increase in hardware capabilities, and we have an exponential increase in software talent that's going into AI.'
The truth is that nobody truly knows what stage AI technology will be at just ten years from now.
Whilst predictions vary, it could well be the case that a number of AI breakthroughs will be made in the next few years, especially with the amount of money currently going into its development.
Humans are still in control (theoretically)
That said, it is worth pointing out that AI is still developed, controlled and programmed by humans - so it would take an incredibly intelligent-yet-psychotic, rich individual or group of people to guide AI development towards malevolent purposes.
The key question, really, is whether machines can become 'intelligent' enough to truly think for themselves, which could either happen in the next decade or hundreds of years from now.
Even so, by then humans should have developed the necessary precautions to be able to control it (it is unlikely anyone would develop a hyper-intelligent robot with guns for arms, for instance).
Ultimately, it seems that the movies, perhaps unsurprisingly, may have been a little romantic about AI. That being said, AI is still a new phenomenon, and no one truly knows its long-term potential.
Copyright © 2018 Article was made possible by site supporter Victoria Harrison.