In the future, we’ll robots replace humans?
This concept is an ongoing among engineers, neuroscientists, and philosophers. More and more, we are seeing progress when it comes to AI— with each new machine becoming closer to appearing human-like. Just take Sophia for example. First activated back in February 14, 2016 this female robot has gained attention worldwide for her human-like appearance and ability to use AI, facial recognition, and visual data processing. Modeled after iconic actress and petite beauty Audrey Hepburn, Sophia’s visuals can certainly fool just about anyone at first glance.
Though Sophia wasn’t the first robot to be introduced to a global audience she did manage to achieve firsts that others like here weren’t able to. The biggest of which would be receiving citizenship from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A major move that was not spared from criticism, with many people using it as an opportunity to comment on Saudi Arabia’s own human rights record. The fact that she had become a citizen of this particular country also raised a number of questions—will she be able to legally vote or marry?
Will a deliberate system shutdown be considered murder?
Needless to say, whilst on the surface it might appear as if humans have generally accepted the idea of living alongside AI robots, there’s still an underlying sense of fear when it comes to the idea. If these robots are to be given rights equal to humans, all whilst there are humans being treated less than, how is that ethical? Are their lives eventually going to be more valuable than our considering how skilled, knowledgeable, and productive they can be?
These questions remain unanswered for now.
When it comes to replicating humans, there’s still one thing that even the most advanced AI cannot do; that is being able to experience all the subtleties and complexities that a human mind does. Sure, you can talk to Sophia in the same manner as you do with other humans, but her responses are quite inconsistent. In some interviews she was able to impress, whilst she was rather nonsensical in others.
People have referred to it as “conversation artificial intelligence”.
But when it comes to the human mind, it’s more than just being able to keep up with conversation. For all its faults, our brain still remains quite extraordinary—its many mysteries have yet to be unlocked and fully understood. In fact, scientists are still unsure of why we even sleep! So, can they really replicate something with so many intricacies? Sure, they may not be able to fully replicate how the mind works, but that’s not the point of it, says some AI experts.
Titus Sharpe, the president of MVF, once said in an interview that it doesn’t matter whether the machine is conscious or not. The important thing is if humans can differentiate between man and machine. The thought can be scary as it shows us a future where AI’s have progressed so much in both design and system that it would be difficult to tell them apart from the average humans.
If we were to use that idea as basis for what makes something human then all it would really take for the machines to replicate us is this: TRAINING.
Before you panic or start checking your friends for loose screws and wires, you’d be glad to know that there is a way of telling the difference. A standard measure used by researchers and scientists to test if a machine is TRULY artificially intelligent.
The Turing test was developed by Alan Turin, and is actually quite simple. All it takes is a blind test were an actual human is asked if they are able to tell the difference between an artificially intelligent chatbot and a fellow human. If they are unable to differentiate between the two, the AI passes. Has an AI ever passed the test? There is one case, though the results of that remains widely criticized.
The test itself stands strong as the mountain that AI developers have to overcome—and it’s going to be a hard one. Even after years of innovation, no AI has passed the Turing Test; at least, one that’s received unanimous support.
Can Machines Think?
This brings us back to one fundamental issue that artificial intelligence faces: the inability to learn in the same way that humans do. They are intrinsically different from humans in how they perceive the world around them and this is a problem that doesn’t have an easy fix. For example, our intelligence depends on the way we view our world—how we think about it. Understanding that from a human perspective is quite an insurmountable challenge in itself.
That’s not the only thing AI’s struggle at, however. There’s also basic world views that they cannot process the same way we do—just take emotional intelligence and common sense logic as examples. Yes, an AI can learn, but unless we get as close to developing one that’s similar to Robin William’s the Bicentennial man, then artificial intelligence still has a very long way to go before it can completely replicate the human mind.
All that does beg the question: How do you feel about living alongside robots in the future?
Imagine becoming friends with them and not just relegating them to the service industry. We have been warned by some of the greatest minds of our time that too much AI can result in severe consequences—it may even bring about mankind’s end.
So why do we continuously seek for ways to replicate ourselves in the form of machines? Is it a quest to become something more than human? To, perhaps, one day transfer our own consciousness into these machines and become immortal? Movies often romanticize the idea; the ability to live forever, to learn continuously, develop and progress along with the times. A grand notion, but wouldn’t that turn us into nothing more than “intelligent machines” as well?
Once true artificial intelligence becomes a normal part of our daily lives, where do we draw the line between humanity and machines? Do we even have to?