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Artificial Intelligence: The modern day electricity that'll transform everything

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In the 1999 film 'The Matrix,' Neo, the protagonist, talks about Artificial Intelligence in a scene. Many people learned the term 'Artificial intelligence' from that groundbreaking film. But they forgot about it and thought it was some science fiction term. 

Fast forward to 2023, AI is a reality that surrounds us from every corner of our lives with its marvels. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the ability of a machine to perform tasks that would typically require human intelligence. It's an exciting and rapidly growing field that has the potential to revolutionise various industries. 

From self-driving cars to medical diagnosis to social media algorithms, AI is already used to make crucial daily decisions. 

As Andrew Ng, founder of the AI research company Landing AI, noted, "AI is the new electricity. Just as electricity transformed almost everything 100 years ago, today I actually have a hard time thinking of an industry that I don't think AI will transform in the next several years."

The history behind

AI has a long and fascinating history, dating back to the early days of computing. One of the earliest AI projects was the Dartmouth Conference in 1956, which brought together leading computer scientists to explore the potential of 'thinking machines.' 

In the coming decades, AI has continued to advance and evolve, leading to some remarkable projects, such as IBM's Deep Blue, which defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. 

The latest artificial intelligence projects are OpenAI’s sensational ChatGPT, the image-generating project Dall-e, Google’s Bard and many others. Those of us who don't know much about AI are already using it on social media platforms or by using Siri or Google assistant.

Benefits are undeniable

AI gives us many benefits, from improving healthcare to making our workplaces more efficient. In healthcare, AI is used to analyse medical images, help diagnose diseases, and develop personalised treatment plans for patients. 

In finance, it's being used to detect fraudulent transactions and prevent financial crimes. In manufacturing, AI optimises production processes and reduces waste. 

AI has the potential to revolutionise existing technologies as well. For example, it can improve cybersecurity by detecting and preventing cyberattacks. It can also improve the accuracy of weather forecasts, which can have significant implications for industries such as agriculture and transportation. 

These are just a few examples of how AI is already being used to improve efficiency and productivity. 

Social media is one area where AI already has a significant impact. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter use AI to recommend content to users and target ads more effectively. However, there are concerns about AI's role in amplifying misinformation and polarising users.

In the entertainment industry, AI is used to create more personalised consumer experiences. For example, streaming services like Netflix and Amazon use AI to recommend shows and movies to users based on their viewing history. AI is also being used to create more realistic video game characters and improve movie visual effects.

AI market is already huge

The economics of AI are staggering. According to a report by PwC, AI could contribute US$ 15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. 

In the US alone, AI is projected to add US$ 8.3 trillion to the economy by 2035. The report also shows that AI created 2.3 million jobs by 2020, with the potential to add another 1.8 million by 2025. 

A report by McKinsey Global Institute suggests that adopting AI could increase productivity by up to 40 per cent. 

The fear of unethical usage

However, with great power comes great responsibility, and it's important to consider the ethical implications of this technology. As AI increasingly makes important decisions, it's crucial to consider the potential consequences and ensure that we're ethically using this technology. 

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, has expressed concerns regarding the potential risks of AI. He termed it as a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation.

There are concerns about using AI in hiring processes, as it could perpetuate biases and lead to discrimination against certain groups. 

AI should be used in a way that does not violate privacy rights. One area where AI should not be used is decision-making processes with significant ethical or moral implications. 

For example, it should not be used to make decisions about whether a person should receive medical treatment or not or whether someone should be granted parole or not. 

These decisions require a deep understanding of complex ethical and moral issues, which an algorithm cannot replicate. 

AI should not be used when human judgment and intuition are necessary. 

For example, AI should not be used in creative fields such as art or music, as the creative process requires a level of intuition and emotional intelligence that AI cannot replicate. There are also concerns about using autonomous weapons, which could lead to unintended consequences and even war. 

AI should also not be used to replace human interaction or emotional support. While AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can help provide information and assistance, they should not be used as a substitute for human connection. 

We are already consumed by technologies and should keep human interaction as prevalent as possible. Musicians have been talking about this for years. In their famous song ‘Hotel California’, the Eagles said, “We are all just prisoners here of our own device” decades ago.

The future of AI is both exciting and uncertain. As technology continues to evolve, so too will the capabilities of AI. However, it's important to ensure that we're using this technology responsibly and ethically. 

As Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, said, "AI is one of the most profound things we're working on as humanity. It's more profound than fire or electricity." 

It's up to us to ensure that we use it for good. The ethical implications of artificial intelligence are complex. 

While AI can benefit society significantly, it's important to consider the potential consequences and ensure that we're responsibly using this technology. 

Bill Gates' statement can conclude the discussion fittingly, "AI can be our friend if we get it right. It can be our enemy if we get it wrong."

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