If perhaps we had asked this question five years ago that “Is Artificial Intelligence the future of social media?” we may have had some people opining in agreement and some in disagreement. However, now we know that AI is the future. We rely on it in every aspect of our life. For example, we click “Going” or “Interested” on an event on Facebook and its AI recommend similar events. And as we show interest in more events, Facebook’s algorithm takes note and recommends us more events. We may or may not go to them, but each event that it recommends and we either accept or reject it, the AI learns. It has been given the cognitive ability to learn based on the history. And at times, we really do like what the AI recommends.
Understanding the extent of AI
Many think that AI is limited to virtual assistants like Siri, Google Allo, Cortana etc., but these are just the interactive versions of AI. Not every AI bot converses. On Goodreads, if you mark one book as read, it recommends another book, similar to what you just marked, for your next read. Similarly, on Amazon, if you are buying one product, it shows the products which are often bought in combination with the one you’re checking; and this is beside the list of similar products you may like. AI is everywhere.
Now that we know AI is the future, the next question is, can Artificial Intelligence surpass human intelligence? Before we answer that, it is more important to understand why we need it:
- It Keeps Track
The AI of a website keeps track of all the items you have browsed, bought, added to wish list, saved for later, and constantly keeps on recommending something new for you. If you visit any website, a news website, for example, even that recommends another news article for you to read after you read one.
- It Keeps track of what you reject
Besides keeping a track of all the things you have bought, it also keeps track of all the things you reject. It learns and keeps away the products similar to it.
- It Learns
The most powerful aspect of Artificial Intelligence is that it learns. The more you accept or reject certain items, the list of recommendations gets more narrowed and you see things you actually want. For example, if you have been using Amazon for 4-5 years now, your list of recommendations at this stage is narrowed, and is of things you might actually like.
Its cognitive ability is what makes artificial intelligence such a great tool in this modern era of digitization. To website/company owners, it helps customer retention. Customers stay on the website for a longer period of time if the next thing they should buy or read is already shown on the screen to them. One more article/product does not harm at all. And this begins a chain.
This more time you spend on Amazon, more likely are you to buy something; same as more time you spend on Twitter, more likely are you to get angry. Former is a platform whose AI helps serve the purpose, while the latter has become something else.
Can the Creation usurp the Creator?
We already know that digital intelligence is smarter than us. Calculators can do calculations faster than us, a computer can do millions of tasks we can’t. In fact, internet is nothing but a virtual world we have built which we access using computers and mobile.
It was constructed with the fundamental idea of making human beings an evolved species. Using our intelligence, we have created something which is smarter than us, but is still under our control. But, now that we have given it a method of learning, can it surpass human intelligence?
The reason we ask that is because it has already begun to show the traits of surpassing us; however, it is under our control at present. For example, spam bots exist. To counter that, we had to introduce CAPTCHA in order to keep those spam bots away.
In fact, we have created a virus for which we have to constantly stay on our toes to counter. And, depending on our increasing reliability and the rate at which artificial intelligence is growing, it may just surpass us.
The question we must ask is: how long before it surpasses us? And when it does, what then?