Alan Turing (1912-1954), the famous computer scientist and mathematician, put all the theoretical basis of computers, long before their existence. He also reached the borders of Artificial Intelligence and finally at his paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” in 1950, he formulated a very famous question: Can machines think? At the same paper he understood immediately the difficulty to define what thinking is so he rephrased his question.
He suggested a game between that involves three people: one man(A), one woman(B) and an interrogator(C). The interrogator stays isolated in a room, he cannot see or listen the man and the woman. All he is allowed to do is to ask questions to A and B. The primary objection of A is to confuse the interrogator with ambiguous answers and the primary objection of B is to give quite clear and helpful answers in order to help the interrogator.
The new question was “What will happen when a machine takes the part of A in this game?” Will the interrogator decide wrongly as often when the game is played like this as he does when the game is played between a man and a woman?
The true meaning of the above questions is “Can a machine simulate the human thinking in such a way that a human cannot distinguish machine from human?” This question is also known as Turing test.
Many decades passed by and computers are a basic part of our lives. Most people have heard the term of Artificial Intelligence but they consider it as something very cold and distant. The truth that Artificial Intelligence becomes more and more Intelligent. Powerful computers, new algorithms, a huge amount of data and new applied sciences have boosted Artificial Intelligence into a situation which is very critical. New questions arise: “Will Artificial Intelligence resolve many unresolved issues of the human race?”, “Will ever the machines think better than humans?”, “Will Artificial Intelligence replace the human jobs”, “What if the machines obtain such an Intelligence that will be able to enslave the human race?”. Many science fiction movies and books come in mind immediately.
The point is that there’s no easy answer to these questions. We cannot predict the progress of technology and science. There were very serious attempts in the past with the famous Moore’s law that claims that in 1965 that “the number of components in integrated circuit chips will double every 18 months”. Also, Theodore Wright in 1936 states that progress increases with experience and more specifically that “each percent increase in cumulative production in a given industry results in a fixed percentage improvement in production efficiency”. In order to understand how difficult is to imagine the future from the technological point of view, just try to think if a person in 60s would ever imagine the world of social media, digital marketing and smart phones. The progress comes faster in an exponential rate, every day thousands of data scientists, mathematicians and IT experts add something new on the repository of the human knowledge.
What we can do is to cite a very basic comparison between humans and machines with the knowledge of limits of Artificial Intelligence as it is today.
Machines are better than human in:
- Speed of execution – Machines are by far faster
- Bias – Machines are less biased
- Availability – Machines don’t sleep, eat or rest, machines are available 24/7
- Accuracy – Mistakes and Errors are very common for humans
Humans are better than machines in:
- Energy Efficiency – Humans require less energy than machines
- Multi-tasking – Humans are able to learn and to manage many different skills during life
- Responsibilities – Humans are able to take multiple responsibilities
- Decisions – Artificial Intelligence until now is very difficult to compete decisions making, even to children
- Durability – Many neurons of the human brain are destroyed when we smoke a cigarette, however the brain function does not change importantly
Stay tuned, the battle between machines and humans just started. Will we see scenes from Matrix in the following years or will we see machines that will make our lives easier and better? I guess it is more up to us, how we will create machines and what will be their purpose.