Why are we working so hard to make computers that compute better, when we could be using computers to help us think and act better?


Copyright: sciencefocus.com – “Augmented Intelligence: What it is and why it will be smarter than AI”


For years, writers, scientists and entrepreneurs have shown us visions of our future relationships with computers and robots. These vary from the devastation of autonomous robots annihilating us, to the marvels of superhuman enhancement in robot suits. While the Terminator and Iron Man concepts push those ideas to the extreme, they highlight a clear choice in our use of technology.

Should we aim for total automation with the target of greater safety and higher efficiency? Or should we aspire to augmentation – using technology to enhance our abilities without replacing us? As artificial intelligence and robotics mature enough to become integrated into everyday life, we need to start making this choice. We need to choose wisely, or we might just automate ourselves and the natural world out of existence.

Humans have always been fascinated by automation. Centuries ago, mechanical creations called automatons were constructed to mimic musicians playing, birds singing, or animals moving. Much of the Industrial Revolution was premised on the idea that automation is better: fabrics could be woven faster and cheaper. Never mind the pollution or the awful working conditions – the products are so much more affordable!

The idea continues in our factories today, where everything that can be automated is automated. Car factories are the largest adopters of robots, and today all welding and painting is done by robots, with ambitions for entire vehicles to soon be built automatically.

And while robots have been around for several decades, the last 10 years have seen an explosion in artificial intelligence (and specifically methods such as machine learning). These advanced computer algorithms inspired by the way the brain works provide the latest way we can perform automation.

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Automating or assisting?

We can use artificial intelligence to drive our vehicles, to design products, even to compose music or make art. Artificial intelligence will soon be able to imitate our images and sounds perfectly, meaning that actors and performers can be computer-generated. Artificial intelligence can generate text in any style and content, so writing can be automated. It can understand our patterns of behaviour and influence us automatically – enabling the marketeers’ dream of encouraging us to purchase or vote in ways we otherwise might not.[…]

Read more: www.sciencefocus.com