Dr. Megan Johnson McCullough – Since I hear the word “AI” all the time, I thought, well, maybe I should figure out what everyone is talking about. I can’t be the only person who is maybe a little late for the game with all this technology talk. Keeping it simple and basic is my preference, but now that I can tap my debit card and there is far less interaction with other human beings taking place, I better change my “tude” as they say.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is by definition, when a computer/robot that is controlled by a computer, can
do the tasks of human beings including those that require human intellect and discernment. The tech
industry has evolved, and AI is a major industry. There are now self-driving cars, Google Bard, and
ChatGPT. I like using Alexa and others have Siri. Of course, I’m impressed, but I’m also of the healthy
lifestyle mind that is concerned about our voices replacing the steps and movement it takes to let’s say
turn on a light, look up answers in a book, or physically have to go somewhere to get or so something.
There are actually two general types of AI. The first type is considered Strong AI, which practically
replicates a human because it can do what a human can without even being trained to do so. However,
this type doesn’t exist yet although we see it in movies. This AI would have all cognitive abilities, and to
have this would be the ultimate accomplishment of a developer. Weak AI is also called narrow AI or
specialized AI. It can simulate human intelligence directed at a specific problem. This could something
like driving a car or transcribing a website. It works very well on a single task, so they do have limitations
compared to actual human intelligence. Examples of Weak AI would be doing a Google search, when we
see Netflix recommendations come up, or when we get all those spam emails.
AI can be divided into four categories. These include reactive machines, limited memory, Theory of
Mind, and self-awareness. Reactive machines can perceive and react only to what is right in front of it. It
cannot store memory so it can’t use past experiences to inform what is currently happening. It therefore
reacts the same to the same stimuli. Limited memory can store previous data so it can look to the past
for clues. A team has to train the AI how to interpret data. Theory of Mind has not yet been reached
because AI would have to interpret and understand real feelings human have and how our
thoughts/emotions affect our behavior. A machine could be our mind if this became true. Self-
awareness would come after this because the machine could then understand our relationship to the
world and others. It could assess and interpret true communication based on what someone else has
said and what needs to be said back to that person. Who knows if or when Theory of Mind could ever
happen, but if it were to, machines could just be part of our daily lives sharing the world with us.
The perks of AI are many to include safer banking, better medicine, and so many innovations in media.
For a lot of us, somethings just are better served with human interaction. We don’t link pressing
numbers on the phone and looping around because we are talking to generated systems. Online chat for
help and customer service can be daunting. We have to learn new tricks to stay up with the times. Our
ancient cell phones will one day be part of history classes and in museums. Our lifetime has witnessed
so many tech changes which is amazing and scary all at once.