Artificial things are bad
Start of the AI science year : "Better AI solutions leave us more time for things that are fun"
Mr. Bießmann, what is behind the term “artificial intelligence” and what exactly is not?
When someone asks me what artificial intelligence (AI) is, I often first ask back: What do you mean by intelligence? It's not that easy to define - especially if you want to use the definition to differentiate between artificial and human intelligence. I see artificial intelligence as an umbrella term for a variety of algorithms that can learn from data. This is called machine learning. Most scientists use this term as well. In concrete terms, a machine learning algorithm could, for example, be a program that learns whether an email is spam or not. Conventional software systems can do this too - but only because the rules for it have been defined by hand beforehand. It is easier to have a large dataset of spam and non-spam and then let the program learn for itself what the differences are. The program itself defines the rules through a learning process, which we previously had to enter manually. What is not behind the term AI are the many fears and hopes that one hears - for example that machines will soon develop human-like consciousness or magically solve all problems.
Does AI have to scare me?
One shouldn't be afraid, but a critical attitude is very important. Most researchers hope that AI will help people. Repetitive work that people don't like doing so much could be taken over by machines and people could then concentrate on something more exciting. If we see AI not as a danger but as an aid, it is easier for us to leave the AI to do tasks without feeling inferior. However, it is important to have the right level of trust in AI. A doctor, police officer or judge who relies too much on AI can be just as wrong as someone who categorically refuses to help AI and thereby ignores helpful advice. However, we do not yet know exactly many of the risks of AI. One of the most important tasks on the part of experts, government representatives, sociologists, lawyers and those who use this technology is therefore to discuss the risks and create ethical and legal frameworks.
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Where is AI already in it without my knowing or noticing it?
AI is actually in everywhere. Many people know that artificial intelligence plays a key role in things that take place online - for example when shopping, looking for a partner, advertising or when assessing risk in insurance and banking. Areas of AI that are even less popular in society include agriculture, art, journalism, and political publicity. AI is also used in the production of successful series to select the plot and the actors.
What will be possible in the future thanks to AI?
I see three big areas where artificial intelligence will benefit us. First, we will be relieved of a lot more repetitive work processes. Small aids, such as autocomplete functions for filling out documents or better search functions for data stocks, will permeate all work areas. Second, there will be a breakthrough in the area of language processing - i.e. translations or the transformation from language to text. It is easy to imagine that soon everyone will have a personal simultaneous translator integrated into their mobile phone. I see the greatest opportunity in the democratization of AI research. Hardware is no longer expensive, many important data sets are publicly available and the most important software packages are open source. In addition, there are more and more easy introductions to the subject. Future advances will in large part be driven by this free and free access to knowledge, data and resources. We should keep that at all costs. The more people have access, the more exciting opportunities will arise. What exactly these opportunities are is very difficult to predict.
How can I get ready for the digital workplace?
Reading texts like this is an interview is probably a good step. So interest in new things is generally a very important factor at work, because new, work-relevant tools are constantly emerging that can make us more efficient. In a world in which almost everything is controlled by programs, everyone should also be given at least some basic knowledge of how this works. I myself learned programming relatively late and am always annoyed that it is not a compulsory part of school education. I think a lot of people would be good programmers who don't believe that of themselves. It's also helpful to see what AI research is up to. It is important to be open to these things and to sharpen the awareness of what is repetitive of your own work and what of it can possibly be taken over by artificial intelligence.
What will the world with artificial intelligence look like in a hundred years?
If you look back at the time of industrialization, there were people who believed that horses are always necessary and that cars are never so important. I believe that fewer people make this mistake these days. But I find it difficult to predict exactly what will happen. What is certain is that it has never been easier to acquire the knowledge you need to build exciting AI applications. This democratization of AI gives me hope that more and more younger and older people will be concerned with AI than before. The era of industrialization made it easier for many people to do heavy physical labor and thus made it possible for us to have significantly longer lifetimes. Perhaps the development of better AI solutions will now allow us to spend this longer lifetime doing things that are more fun and less monotonous. In concrete terms, I would like to have for my grandchildren: more time for people and less time for editing documents and tables.
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