We’ve written about artificial intelligence (AI) a fair amount in the past, from IBM’s Watson supercomputer, to AI-controlled space probes, and swarm theory. As futurist Ray Kurzweil pointed out in his book The Singularity Is Near, the public has a number of misconceptions about AI.
Kurzweil argues that AI is proceeding much faster than people think, and that the development is accelerating. People tend to assume that useful AI will only appear in some distant future, “not in our lifetimes,” when actually we are already living in a world where AI drives many of our trains and airplanes, and a few of our cars. The algorithms that power Google and Bing searches are a form of useful AI, as are voice-based command systems like Siri.
The latest brick-throwing robots from Boston Dynamics may not quite look human, but they can do a lot. In fact, according to the infographic below, there are more than a million robots doing real work in the world today.
They may not have taken your job yet, but the possibility is probably a lot closer than you might think. A lot of people point out that robots also create new jobs, for those who operate and service them, as well as those who design and program them.
The original Luddites tried to stop the march of machinery during the Industrial Revolution, but we know how that turned out. According to Kurzweil, within just a few decades we may even merge with robots, essentially porting our own selves into “artificial” bodies, allowing us to live forever.
Do you think your job could one day be done by a robot?