The intelligent other, the non-human being which can mimic human behaviours, the half human half machine hybrid, the machines which control the world …
There are endless examples of artificial intelligence in science fiction. The thought of beings and machine which could be as intelligent, if not more so than humans has been a popularly explored notion by science fiction authors such as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Philip K Dick and Iain M Banks ( to name a few) as well as in Hollywood and on television. These characters and devices are used within fiction to suggest far off futures and even to comment on technological developments within society, but whatever their purpose, artificially intelligent beings were the works of writers’ imaginations… until now.
Whilst we may not be ready for robots to take over the world (yet) – Tony Belpaeme explains why in our video this month – artificial intelligence is certainly more prevalent in today’s society.
Let’s consider Apple’s voice-recognition controlled assistant Siri for example, a service which is seemingly aligned with our thought processes, self-drive cars, the internet’s ability to suggest search items based on popular search criteria. These are no longer figments of the imagination – they exist and have been created as intelligent entities by a shared machine generated algorithm which allows them to respond in real time as if they were intelligent humans able to comprehend and perform multiple tasks simultaneously.
Real world artificial intelligence is thought to be credited to Alan Turing who first posited the idea of ‘thinking machines’ in his work as a World War Two code breaker and he devised ‘The Turing Test’ to determine the ability of machines to think. At the time of his work, Turing’s notions on artificial intelligence were not afforded much time, but following his death, artificial intelligence as a term and an idea entered mainstream thinking where it has stayed ever since.
Although there are still developments which need to be made within the field, the advances made to technology and artificial intelligence have certainly brought the ideas first suggested by authors into reality and can be seen to be having a positive impact on the world.