Australia and other countries around the world are seeing an increased use of artificial intelligence (AI).
This week, Google unveiled a new feature called Duplex that uses artificial technology to generate a realistic-sounding voice assistant.
The Australian government also announced in Tuesday’s federal budget it would invest more than $2.4 billion in technology and science, including leading research in artificial intelligence.
What exactly is artificial intelligence?
RMIT Senior Lecturer Dr Andy Song believes the definition has been debated for quite a long time.
“There is no premise definition,” Dr Song said. “But basically it is a kind of intellectual behaviour that can be implemented or demonstrated in machines on a human level.”
What are the advantages of AI?
An advantage is that it contributes to error reduction as AI is created in a way to eliminate modification and disfigurement in a hostile environment.
AI can be used in daily application that increases productivity. For example, a GPS has helped drivers navigate in areas they are unfamiliar with.
Smartphones also use artificial intelligence to correct human errors and predict what we are going to type.
AI can also be used in exploring circumstances that are difficult for humans. For example, a rescue can be completed by a robot.
“Sometimes search and rescues don’t have enough human resources in terrace such as deserts and rainforests,” Dr Song said. “AI can look for possible victims.”
What are the disadvantages of AI?
The disadvantages of AI “depend on how you measure it,” Dr Song said.
“The technology is still immature and needs significant improvement. It is far from a human level of intelligence.”
Dr Song said there are many tasks humans do on a daily basis that are “difficult for AI to achieve”.
“To fix plumbing, we need to examine the situation, understand the surrounding environments and analyse what could go wrong…this is a challenge for artificial intelligence,” Dr Song said.
Another disadvantage includes high costs to create, repair and maintain the complex machines.
Others argue that it will never be able to replicate a humans intelligence on a moral and emotional level. They perform based on what they are programmed to do.
Artificial intelligence will also introduce societal change causing a “significant shift in the employment market”.
It will eliminate “repetitive and intellectual work” and allow for more “creative” and “interactive” jobs.
The demand for accountants, doctors, lawyers and banking specialist will decrease, Dr Song said.
How is artificial intelligence used in today’s society?
There are different levels of AI technology.
A basic form of artificial intelligence uses Siri’s voice recognition tool to assistant a person with collecting information.
A more complex level of AI is driverless vehicles. They combine a variety of techniques to perceive their surroundings including GPS, laser, computer vision and sensory information.
“Driverless cars will cause significant change to society like urban planning, road laws, transport, construction and infrastructure,” Dr Song said.
What does the future hold for AI?
It will play a significant role in our future society as we will see a wider variety of technology using AI.
Dr Song said that we will see a shift in five to 10 years but that is a “pretty conservative estimation”.