How is artificial intelligence development going in your environment? That question might make you pause for a moment as you ponder the idea and then find yourself scratching your head wondering what artificial intelligence (AI) I could possibly be referring to. Let me present this construct. Artificial intelligence, much like cloud computing, has a definition that varies depending on who you are talking to.
In practical terms, something is considered to be artificial intelligence when the system learns based on values that are returned and rules that have been established for that information, uses reasoning based on the rules to create an algorithm and a conclusion, and follows up with self-correction without the need for human intervention. So far as we know, artificially intelligent systems have not reached the point of complete self-awareness. The idea immediately elicits thoughts of Skynet, Eagle Eye, and the like, and for a very good reason. What happens when a fundamentally flawed species (humans) creates a simulation of human intelligence that learns and comes to its own conclusions about its creators?
At the current time, we are seeing a general availability of “narrow AI.” Narrow AI is a system that is designed and trained for a particular and fairly specific goal or set of tasks. Common examples include Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and any other type of computerized personal assistant. This type of automation is classified as reactive automation because it reacts to the input it is given.
Do you know what else works from a reactive type of narrow AI? A self-healing data center. I laid out what I consider to be the foundation of a self-healing data center in my last post. I continue to believe that in the next few years we will start to see narrow AI advance significantly in capabilities and functionality. Self-healing computer systems should continue to advance along on the same lines, as a confluence of vendor features and the homegrown automation created by in-house engineers. It is not the task itself that continues to evolve over time, but rather the logic-based decisions that are refined to incorporate exceptions and learn what to do to resolve issues. This is what I think will be a primary focus for most of us in IT for years to come.
In my opinion, artificial intelligence is one of the technologies that we will not hear as much about, but will continue to make advances in leaps and bounds regardless. Most users won’t notice it when reading through release milestones. What I do believe will spend more time in the limelight and will get more notice and attention will be advances in robots and robotic technologies. I believe that by the end of the decade, robotics will displace a significant number of low-level and highly repetitive types of positions.
This will be an interesting set of times. Many unintended consequences will arise from automation. It seems likely that someday, we will get to a point at which most jobs will be handled by robotics and automation. What will life be like for the majority of people in such a world? It’s an idea that’s crossed the minds of world leaders. In some countries, social experiments are being run in which test groups have been given a “living wage,” or base living salary. Think of it as a test run for that day when the robots take over. In some ways, the future may imitate a George Jetson type of life, but I believe it will be quite different. This will be a true test of society as a whole, although thoughts about that future can be quite scary in a lot of different ways.
In the meantime, how is artificial intelligence development going in your environment?