It’s all over the news. Google has created yet another genius and mind boggling invention: AlphaGo. What the heck is that you ask? Well, my dear, naive, and unsuspecting friend, AlphaGo is a robot that plays the most complicated game in board game history, an asian game called Go. And recently, AlphaGo kicked the a*s of the world champion in Go, Lee Sedol. When Sedol lost the first round, he was noticeably confused; when he lost the second round, the man was verging on depression; by the third round, poor Lee was questioning his existence… is it worth living in a world where his brilliant brain is torn down by a piece of scrap metal running algorithms?
For heaven’s sake, even the video’s narrated by a bot. Sigh.
Artificial Intelligence is a freakish deal for many people nowadays, as it seems to be winning at everything. I mean, when you’re playing a game, someone loses, someone wins, and that’s all fine and well. But when you’re a world championship playing against a bot and you lose, that’s like a loss for the whole human race. But how did AlphaGo get so good at Go? It played a million matches against itself, hence, teaching itself how to play the perfect match. It’s quite easy for a robot to get the hang of a setting with fixed rules and probabilities, even if these probabilities seem endless. However, when faced with fluctuating and uncertain events, this becomes more difficult; that is to say, it becomes more difficult for the programmers to create such an AI. One important thing to know is that AlphaGo hasn’t the slightest clue what its playing… in fact, no bot knows what it’s doing! It simply moves around in a grid or pattern that we, as humans, lay out to it. So why are we so scared of them?
Well, because for the bast few decades, we have been tailoring our lives to accommodate bots and introducing new environments that bots comprehend. So, technically, we have programmed ourselves into the proverbial corner, with every aspect of our lives built in a way to be understood by bots and becoming so complex that we ourselves cannot understand without AI. We got ourselves into a pickle, didn’t we?
Moreover, media painted AI in a way that shows them either out to get you or seducing you to laziness… and this isn’t too far from the truth. Survey’s showed that 70% of people actually liked the idea of AI doing boring small jobs for them. However, the percentage of approving people plummeted to 23% when faced with an AI medical practitioner. But robots are already taking over, and we aren’t even noticing. Robots already take a huge part in medical practice and the science field. They also work small scale jobs like that self-service checkout you love so much. Yep that’s a bot. It even has human assistants! Though it doesn’t really need them… after all, its designers chose not to limit it this way. Think of it as them throwing you scraps… or maybe giving you a heads up to what’s coming!
So the ultimate fear of everyone in the world is that while we’re fine with AI in small boring jobs, they can defeat the most brilliant of minds! What will humans be left with? What will we still offer society when AI does take over?