People have been fascinated by artificial intelligence for a very long time. While we might think that this is a modern interest, starting perhaps with James Cameron’s Terminator in 1984. Others might think that it was something that came from Isaac Asimov in the 1950s. But there are instances that go back to the 1940s, and perhaps even earlier, with the idea of smart robots showing up in Jack Williamson’s novelette With Folded Hands.
Depending on how loosely you define it, the concept of AI has been around since antiquity. Talos, is a mythical automaton with intelligence. But when we talk about artificial intelligence these days, we are almost exclusively talking about it in the context of computers.
Given the rapid pace of development we’re seeing, lets review some of the recent and advances in AI.
What is artificial intelligence?
Wikipedia defines AI as the following:
“[AI] is intelligence—perceiving, synthesizing, and inferring information—demonstrated by machines, as opposed to intelligence displayed by non-human animals or by humans.”
In the present world, this is generally applied to two different systems. The first of these systems is algorithms. Algorithms are lines of code that are designed to accomplish specific things. Most commonly, we see algorithms related to online activity. Social media, for example, uses it to make recommendations for what you might want to see based on what you’ve reacted to. Amazon might make recommendations for products based on what you’ve looked at already.
These types of algorithms are complex lines of code that accomplish specific activities.
The second case is AI in the context of robotics and the application of algorithms with robots so that they can accomplish more specific (and complex) tasks.
What can AI do?
As mentioned above, AI can make determinations based on previous information.
For many years, there has been the promise that artificial intelligence was going to make our lives easier. So far, it might feel like it’s just been trying to make us buy more products or watch more videos. Has AI been helping us and we just haven’t noticed?
Artificial intelligence and healthcare
AI can be added to different areas of healthcare but these will be gradual and expensive processes. Implementation in busy workplaces, training staff, and building trust is prone to growing pains, which involves fixing any issues and errors. Additionally, there is concern that relying on AI too much could lower expertise if it begins replacing specialist roles, and humans are always needed for compassion in decision making.
Jack’s article on the intersection between artificial intelligence and healthcare provides a lot of information about the subject, including the following topics:
- How AI can affect hospital and healthcare administration;
- AI and its relevance to cancer research;
- Artificially intelligent robots;
- and more!
An example of AI in healthcare
An article in Sustainability looks at how generative AIs, such as ChatGPT, can be applied to perform repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Some of these types of activities include data collection, processing, entry, and formatting. This can help to ensure that data is organized and accessible. Also, deep learning models can be applied to more accurately detect and analyze patterns in data at a quicker rate than humans are capable of.
Chatbots have been around for years, but ChatGPT is a very popular and modern iteration of these programs. Chatbots are largely created to emulate human conversation. They’re routinely used for things like customer help on websites when using people would be too difficult to do because of the hours of availability.
ChatGPT, however, goes well beyond basic help functions. The GPT of its name stands for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer”. To learn more about what this means, we refer you to another article specifically about ChatGPT.
What can ChatGPT do?
ChatGPT is quite good at solving programming problems, developing ideas for projects (including creative ones), and sourcing information that can be factually supported. For questions without definitive answers and more complex requests, it is less effective.
This chatbot is good at copying “the human-like ability to “talk” and respond in smooth, natural instant dialogue”. It remembers details of your conversation and then can build these details into its subsequent responses. It is also able to ask for clarification if it doesn’t understand what you’re asking about.
We dive into more detail about the pros and cons of ChatGPT in another article.
Artificial intelligence and art
Can robots paint? Can AI feel inspired? Can it produce a great novel? Or a movie?
Can art be art if it isn’t created by someone with a soul?
These are questions that relate to basic issues of humanity, but there are also questions of legality. With Getty Images taking Stability AI to court over its produced art, questions of copyright infringement arise.
AI tries to paint
While there are many cases where AI is attempting to create art, here, we’ll narrow our focus on painting.
There’s research out there that shows that artificial intelligence can be programmed to do this. However, there are some hiccups with the technology being used to replicate paintings, as demonstrated by e-David in a 2022 study.
A study, “Region-based approaches in robotic painting”, looks at how paintings can be replicated using robots.
For a fascinating deeper dive, read Shaheena’s piece on artificial intelligence and art.
Artificial intelligence and the future
Sometimes it feels like the future is now. With the speed at which technology advances, we need to have our eyes trained on all the benefits (but also disadvantages) that artificial intelligence poses. Careful research like the pieces we reviewed in our articles can help to clarify these roles and how we can integrate algorithms and AI safely into our lives.