Somewhere in Nigeria a group of teenagers are chatting.

‘You do not expect me to take you seriously do you?’ ‘Matter of fact, I do. I really cannot wait to own one of those cars’ ‘I think you need to wake up, snap back to reality, those self-driving cars are not real, they only exist in Hollywood movies’

In reply to this conversation, such cars really do exist. They are powered by a technology called artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is a piece of technology which allows machines to mimic various aspects of human behaviour. Ultimately, the goal of artificial intelligence is to imitate human understanding, thinking and learning.

It is often said that there is nothing new under the sun. Artificial intelligence is not an exception to this. Artificial intelligence has had its foundations laid as far back as 1950 when Alan Turing published a book on artificial intelligence called ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’ 

Since then artificial intelligence has grown in leaps culminating in its application in basically every aspect of human existence. Numerous examples of this abound. For example, the existence of Tesla cars which actually drive themselves, ‘Aaron’ a software  which mimics human behavior  by producing paintings which are virtually indistinguishable from human paintings. ‘Emily’ software which autonomously produces music. ‘Siri’ in IPhones which responds to voice commands in human like fashion. Artificial Intelligence has also been applied in the medical sciences by replacing human doctors with robot doctors. These are just a few examples. 

Artificial intelligence technology is generating huge global interest, major financial investment and is growing at an exponential rate.  Some  major technology companies have joined the artificial intelligence bandwagon, Google and IBM, just to name a few have actually developed strong artificial intelligence systems. Experts have projected that by 2020 artificial intelligence would become a $70 billion industry.

As artificial intelligence has grown it has garnered remarkable support and understandably has attracted fears.  The argument in support of artificial intelligence is that improves the quality of life by providing easier ways to performs tasks. The major fear is  that in the absence of  guiding laws and regulations on  artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence systems or robots may go on to replace human beings especially in relation to jobs.

What do you think? Are artificial intelligence systems a welcome development or do you feel they pose a grave danger to human existence? Do you feel that for instance, artificial intelligence systems may one day go on to replace doctors or other professionals  in field where it is applied ?

© 2018  Ochai, Onjefu Adakole, Esq. All rights reserved.



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