When one hears the term "AI," images of a futuristic, fully
automated world that frees humanity from day to day tasks come up -
combined with darker visions of a dystopian world where people will
be subjugated by "Robocop" type machines that control everything.
The planet is currently experiencing a 'glorious' era in technological
history - the rise of artificial intelligence.
Yep! AI has finally
arrived - and it's here to stay.
Many of us have not noticed but in
the past decade, artificial intelligence has advanced so much that
it is now in our homes, directly affecting our everyday lives.
in our electronics (Hello
Alexa!), including our
helping us shop online, translating foreign languages and even
recommending videos to binge on Netflix.
From the moment computers were created, man has always worked on
making it think more like humans.
Studies began in earnest in the
late 1950s, but sadly, the final outcome was not successful and this
potential new field of computer science was (basically) declared a
Fast forward to the 1980s, it was given a new life by scientists in
Canada, which never stopped funding AI research when the rest of the
This continued support allowed AI pioneers like
Hinton, Yoshua Bengio and Richard Sutton to push forward and lay the
groundwork for what we now call machine and deep learning.
took another 25 to 30 years though, for AI to shine, mainly because
the technology - especially the development of supercomputers and
super-fast processing chips - finally caught up with Hinton's ideas.
Today, Canada is reaping the benefits of supporting a field that
many considered too Star Trek early on.
It is the undisputed world
leader and global AI hub with the majority of the planet's AI
brains/gurus/godfathers working there.
AI is a highly valued
Canadian resource too and is now a driver of economic growth,
attracting tech giants such as
invest in deep learning research hubs in Ontario, Quebec and
But of course, there is a seeming dark side to all of this.
AI has many positive applications - especially in the healthcare
industry - it can also be used by people with no ethics or morals to
manipulate and even harm others.
In fact, this is already taking
place; the best example would be when Facebook/social media
algorithms were manipulated to influence the outcome of elections
around the globe.
Are there risks involved when we eventually build a machine smarter
Is AI a threat to humanity's future?
In any case,
everywhere and the world can no longer go back to life without it.
Looking to the future, AI will continue to develop and advance and
it is up to us human beings to make sure it is used properly and
only for the common good.