AI: Myths and Fiction
Artificial intelligence has been continuously developing over the past few decades and has achieved fantastic results and can do unbelievable things. Self-driving cars, face-recognition systems, and virtual assistants are not a fantasy anymore. We can expect even more cool things in the future.
However, as it is widely known, there are multiple myths related to AI, some of which are partly true and even may become real in the future. Others are just beliefs that exist among people today. The latter ones were born as a result of sci-fi movies and books and look more like conspiracy theories.
This article will explore some of the most famous myths, explain the reality behind them, and discuss how AI myths are presented in cinematography.
So, let’s begin!
Myth 1: AI Will Take Our Jobs.
Automation has always been of great interest to people. The first real breakthrough was the industrial revolution of the 18–19th centuries. The use of machines for manufacturing rose dramatically and led to an increase in production. But there was a side effect. Many workers were substituted by machines and lost their jobs.
A similar situation is occurring today where AI is helping to automate many processes. Lots of jobs become obsolete, and people are let go. Several studies were already conducted to determine the positions that are most likely to be automated. Among them: cashiers, drivers, delivery men/women, and even farmers. These are the types of jobs that do not require a whole lot of education or creativity. They are repetitive and constant.
Jobs that require ingenuity and empathy, on the other hand, are much harder to automate. These include teachers, nurses, scientists, architects, engineers, etc. And the good news is that the constant progress of science and technology requires more people like these. Much more workers will be needed to create, build and maintain machines that will do all those routine tasks. These types of jobs are, for sure, more challenging. They call for much attention and education. But they are also more exciting and usually better paid.
The conclusion is that mostly unskilled workers will be substituted for machines. Many jobs may indeed disappear, but new ones will be created while the demand for skilled workers will only increase. This is likely to lead to higher total intelligence and new great inventions.
Myth 2: AI is More Intelligent Than People.
Speaking of intelligence, it is a common misconception that AI is smarter than humans. Many believe that AI’s speed, accuracy, and complexity are proof of its extremely high intelligence. However, the ability to quickly process large amounts of data does not necessarily mean that a machine is intelligent.
A machine cannot do tasks on its own. It must be programmed or trained on a specific task or set of tasks. Therefore, it will only perform well in what it was trained to do. Why is this so?
A computer does not really understand the world in the way humans do. Computers understand numbers. Therefore, everything computers can work with (texts, photos, sounds) is represented by numbers. Also, they do not have any particular meaning — a computer will not understand that it is working with a picture of a dog. It will only see the numbers, make calculations, find patterns, and show the result. The interpretability of the resulting numbers lies on the scientists as well. This is definitely not the kind of intelligence we were talking about.
So far, there were no robots created that can do everything a human can and this is not likely to happen in the near future. As a result, machines are not more intelligent than humans. They are certainly faster. They can process more information. They can find complex hidden patterns in data. But they are still not able to perform well on their own.
Myth 3: AI is Used Only by Large Corporations.
It is a common belief that only huge companies and internet giants use AI. Why would a local shop or a school need it? This notion is fundamentally wrong.
First of all, AI can offer great benefits to any industry: from retail and banking to medicine and the military. Any business, even small local shops, can find something for itself: to increase its sales, improve advertising, diminish customer churn — the list can go on and on. So why not use it?
Secondly, the world is moving towards total automation and digitalization and the role of AI in these processes is exceptionally high. Anybody who misses the chance to adopt it now will incur losses later.
According to this study, two-thirds of organizations have AI programs in place and this number will only increase. As the evolution of artificial intelligence continues, new use cases and further benefits will emerge, and, unfortunately, it may be too late to start using AI then. Therefore the best choice would be to start now and harvest the fruits when others fail.
Myth 4: AI is About Creating Robots.
Artificial intelligence is a broad science that includes many subfields. One of them is indeed robotics, but there are many others. Fields like natural language processing or computer vision are also trendy, and they are rapidly developing.
Many of those who are afraid of AI do not know the reality behind it. Artificial intelligence, in the form of machine learning, is already present in our lives. We may not even know that, but we are interacting with it all the time. Virtual assistants, chatbots, Amazon’s recommendations, and even Google search are all examples of artificial intelligence .
In fact, everything that tries to simulate the way humans think can be called AI. Robotics is an exciting case, but not the only one.
Myth 5: Terminator.
Probably the most widespread myth about artificial intelligence is sometimes called Terminator. Its followers think that AI will rise against us, kill all humans and rule the world. Believers oppose the further development of artificial intelligence and want to stop its existence.
The reality is entirely different. First of all, AI is far from that stage when it will be able to think independently and make deliberate decisions — even the easiest ones. Secondly, there exist so-called laws of robotics that prevent robots from attacking humans. Finally, we should not forget that intelligent and competent scientists are conducting all AI research. They would not be irresponsible enough to allow something like this to happen. Every development is always under strict supervision, and all the necessary precautions are always taken.
As it was mentioned earlier, AI is already among us and, as you can see, there is nothing to worry about. Quite the opposite, we can expect more cool inventions and breakthroughs. The new age is not far away, and it looks beautiful.
AI Myths From Movies
The idea of AI destroying humankind is trendy in cinematography. Many films are based on this theory, starting with Terminator, which actually gave the name to this whole story.
But there are many other movies about artificial intelligence, and not all of them show AI as an evil entity. It is fascinating to look at AI in science fiction, as these fantasies may come true one day. In many ways, fiction is the mirror of our views of the real world, so appearances of alleged AI technologies in the works were destined to become one of the ways we shape our understanding of it. Let us take a look at some of the most exciting stories that the movie industry gave us over the years.
The Matrix: Uprising and Simulating Reality
Arguably the most famous cinematic appearance of AI happened in the classic The Matrix trilogy, which became one of the most popular sci-fi films at the turn of the century.In those movies, AI plays an extremely valuable story point here, raising two big questions simultaneously.
As a trending theme among many fiction works, the conscious machine rebellion is the plot starter in the series. AI has been designed in the twenty-first century, which led to intelligent machines, which obviously came to self-understanding of their status and started an uprising. And humans, with their capabilities, stood no chance against these intelligent machines.
Speaking of intelligent machine technology, researchers around the world are already developing such AI technologies. However, it is essential to understand the difference between real-world intelligent machines and the self-aware units from The Matrix and several other films. Current technology is far from being able to build artificial creations who are able to understand the world around them as closely as humans do. Today machines are rather built to correctly interpret the circumstances of the exact task set to them.
Developing the artificial mind was a high-reach goal for the AI researchers from the very start of the field, but right now, the distance to the possible solution is only if a bit shorter than before.
Ex Machina and Others: Human-like AI
Ex Machina is one of the most famous modern movies about AI that behaves like a human and physically resembles a human. Having featured in lots of films over the years as different kinds of robots or artificial humans, this type of AI usually presents itself as a conscious creation that tries to imitate the human form as closely as possible.
The entire idea of human-like constructed intelligence has roots much deeper than modern movies. Some of them are directly inspired by earlier literature works. One of the most prominent such examples is I, Robot, released in 2004, which was based on an Isaak Azimov novel from as far back as 1950.
The dreams and ideas of the sentient artificial creation overall are very ancient in world culture and this is the point where we can connect myths about AI with actual Greek myths. In the ancient literary works, artificially crafted people appeared as creations of gods, with a purpose either to serve them or wage battles against their enemies. Such creations often proved to be hostile to humans as the story unfolded, resonating with views from the much newer works.
Human-like AI: A Possibility or a Dream?
But is this possible in reality, or even in the near future? There are two main aspects of this AI concept that are far beyond science at this point.
The first one is machine self-awareness. As pointed earlier, current AI concepts mainly focus on solving the selected tasks, and under the hood, such machines are far from grasping the context surrounding these problems. They mostly are learned enough to match patterns found in the surrounding world with a given set of ideas but are currently unable to understand the deeper context behind these patterns.
Another point that is still far from realization is the physical appearance of artificial creations. Current Artificial Intelligence machines usually employ a virtual form, with different sensors and detectors that take in the world-observing functions. However, in most cases, they are far from imitating what humans feel in similar situations.
Indeed, in recent years some progress has been made in giving different AI systems an overall shape close to feral , as was the case with the infamous Boston Dynamics robots. However, these systems are only replicating the form of the natural behavior or senses, being yet far from grasping the concepts of what lies beneath. Machines are still unable to think as humans, though they already can interpret the world just as profoundly .
In this sense, current robots are much closer in appearance to the TARS robot from Interstellar (2014) than to the human-like visually Ada from Ex Machina. TARS did not look anything like a person while still being a fully communicative and functional human assistant. The technology that would allow us to build robots like TARS is not yet here, and it resembles another way they can be designed: with no unnecessary humane features.
The myths that surround Artificial Intelligence mainly spring from the sharp rise in the field and have endured in the last several years. With fields gaining new applications almost daily, many people still do not fully understand or grasp what current AI is and how it all came to work. And this is where the myths and legends arise and fill the gaps left unanswered by experts in the field.
Either created by the right questions or the popular creations, these ideas often unconsciously formour vision of AI. Therefore, being in touch with current Artificial Intelligence trends is almost a must to understand its development. But don’t forget that sometimes our myths can create dreams, a realization of which can lead to something new and beautiful.