The Rapidly Developing World of Artificial Intelligence

Gemma Baker  |


Artificial intelligence, referred to simply as AI, is mostly associated with films and fiction; the Terminator movies, iRobot and RoboCop. These are worst case scenarios concocted by creative minds and adapted from stories. Artificial beings have been common in fiction since the 19th Century.

The actual idea of attempting to build a machine to perform useful reasoning may have originated as early as 1300 CE with Ramon Llull. In 1956, the leaders of Artificial Intelligence research, John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky, Allen Newell, Arthur Samuel and Herbert Simon and their students wrote astonishing programs that meant that computers were:

  • Winning at checkers
  • Solving word problems in algebra
  • Proving logical theorems
  • Speaking English

Due to the release of the “Lighthill Report” where Sir James Lighthill reviewed academic research in Artificial Intelligence and was highly critical, The US and British governments cut their funding for exploratory research in AI. Stretching from 1974 to 1980 this period was known as the “AI Winter” where funding was near to impossible to gain.

In early 1980s the research for Artificial Intelligence was revived due to Japan’s fifth generation computer project stirring the US and British governments to restore funding. Artificial Intelligence began to be used for logistics, data mining, medical diagnosis in the late 1990s and early 21st century. Today Artificial Intelligence is present in our everyday lives and is going to get a lot smarter.

Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society

Known as the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, the tech giants of Silicon Valley; Alphabet (GOOGL), Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB), IBM (IBM) and Microsoft (MSFT) have banded together “to address opportunities and challenges with AI technologies”. They will develop a standard of ethics for the development of AI.

One of the biggest tech giants - Apple (AAPL) - is not included in the partnership, preferring a “go it alone” approach. Apple has boasted their own areas, such as personal assistants, image recognition and voice control that include AI integration.

DeepMind worked with Amazon, Google, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft to form the non-profit organization. They commented that the partnership is “a significant step forward, breaking down barriers between AI teams across leading companies to address some of the really difficult questions that are arising within the field. We also want to make it easier for those in other fields to understand, assess and engage with our scientific breakthroughs and consider the broader social and ethical impacts of our applications.”

    There Are Already 8 Rules in Place for Partnership on AI

  1. The Partnership will seek to ensure that AI technologies benefit and empower as many people as possible
  2. They will educate and listen to the public and actively engage stakeholders to seek their feedback, inform them of the work the Partnership are doing and address their questions.
  3. The Partnership is committed to open research and dialog on the ethical, social, economic and legal implications of AI.
  4. The Partnership believes that AI research and development efforts need to be actively engaged with and accountable to a broad range of stakeholders.
  5. The Partnership will engage with and have representation from stakeholders in the business community to help ensure that domain-specific concerns and opportunities are understood and addressed.
  6. The Partnership will work to maximize the benefits and address the potential challenges of AI technologies, by:

    - Working to protect the privacy and security of individuals.

    - Striving to understand and respect the interests of all parties that may be impacted by AI advances.

    - Working to ensure that AI research and engineering communities remain socially responsible, sensitive, and engaged directly with the potential influences of AI technologies on wider society.

    - Ensuring that AI research and technology is robust, reliable, trustworthy, and operates within secure constraints.

    - Opposing development and use of AI technologies that would violate international conventions or human rights, and promoting safeguards and technologies that do no harm
  7. The Partnership believes that it is important for the operation of AI systems to be understandable and interpretable by people, for purposes of explaining the technology.
  8. The Partnership strives to create a culture of cooperation, trust, and openness among AI scientists and engineers to help us all better achieve these goals.

The tech giants are not beginners when it comes to artificial intelligence; Facebook has been rolling out Chatbots during 2016, allowing users to engage in a conversation with a business via chat messages, where no representative from the organisation needs to be involved. Microsoft has achieved success with their AI assistant Cortana through mobile devices and more recent operating systems on PC’s.

The latest release is from Amazon; their new Echo speaker includes the power of Alexa, Amazon’s brand new virtual assistant.

What is Alexa capable of?

Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa can accomplish over 3000 “Skills” (tasks and services), with just your voice, this includes:

  • Playing music
  • Reading material through Audible
  • Ordering a cab with Uber
  • Ordering your favourite takeaway from Just Eat
  • Tuning into local radio stations
  • Answering questions relating to subjects such as Sports, Weather, Traffic
  • Diming lights in a room
  • Setting alarms and timers
  • Accessing your calendar schedule
  • Ordering products from Amazon.

Here are a few of the things Alexa is capable of; it can even integrate with third party software and products. Want to stream an album from Spotify? Alexa can do this. Need to check your travel route via National Rail Enquiries? Alexa can also do this. Double-checking whether you locked your BMW? Guess what, Alexa can do that for you.

Artificial Intelligence is becoming more prominent in our lives and with the tech giants teaming up to ensure a standard is in place, we can relax with this technology surrounding us. What do you want to see next from Artificial Intelligence? Leave your opinions in the comments below.

Written by Gemma Baker the Marketing Executive for UK web chat software provider, Click4Assistance.


DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer.


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