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It's a brave but wild new world for Artificial Intelligence

The incident happened in San Francisco, the city where Google's driverless cars are running around. They are already very good at driving themselves, following the rules.

Mail Today Bureau | March 15, 2016 | Updated 10:31 IST
It’s a brave but wild new world for Artificial Intelligence
Photo: Reuters

Last week there were two interesting incidents involving the artificial intelligence (AI). In both cases the company behind the AI was Google. In Seoul, AlphaGo, an AI system created by Google, crushed Lee Sedol, an 18-time world champion regarded as this decade's top player of Go.

And this was not just one of those "AI-calculated-faster-than-a-human" type of victory. Go is an ancient game, invented by humans over 2,000 years ago. It is vastly more complex than Chess and requires intuition. That an AI is now superior at Go is a big deal for better or worse.

ALSO READ: Tripoto's artificial Intelligence-based travel concierge

The incident happened in San Francisco, the city where Google's driverless cars are running around. They are already very good at driving themselves, following the rules. But now they are trying to figure out the intuitive traffic moves that humans make - like making the eye contact with a fellow driver and yielding to a car on a broken traffic light. On Wednesday, one of the Google cars, scrapped a public bus, apparently because it thought it was ahead of the bus and hence had the right of way, just like a human driver would have thought.

The two incidents show the AI is out of the purely arithmetic realm and is now moving into a space that until now only humans have occupied on the earth. It is calculating, learning and then creating moves that are its own.

No one knows how the future is going to unfold when we will have machines capable of creating many more complex and unique moves, moves that would not be limited to drawing pictures of cat like the Google computers do now. It can surely change the world in untold ways, making it more efficient and creating a better earth.

But as Bill Gates, Tesla founder Elon Musk and scientist Stephen Hawking warn, it could also mean the end of humans. With AI in driving seat, it will be a brave new world and for now we don't know where we as humans will go from there.

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