Are you ready for Artificial Intelligence?

I dare you to find a list of 2024 technology predictions that don’t mention Artificial Intelligence. So, what do we need to do to be ready? The first thing is to keep reading and experimenting. Here at Geeks on Tour, we try to keep informed on the day-to-day realities of A.I. Here are some articles we’ve written so far:

Is A.I. Good or Bad?

The answer, of course, is that A.I. has the potential of being very good, AND very bad. A.I. is the tool we have for solving the problems of the 21st century. With its help, we can solve climate change, overcome health care challenges, and cheaply produce enough electricity, food, and water to support all people on the planet. But, it is also possible that A.I. can create and distribute deadly viruses, hack into and disable power grids, and create deep-fake videos that are so believable that they could start wars. Think of the invention of electricity. Initially, many people thought it was simply too dangerous to use. They wanted to ban it. Can you imagine a world without electricity? Ways had to be found to use it safely, to impose safeguards and regulations. The same goes for A.I.

What to do?

The only way to control the direction of A.I. is with knowledge. All of us need to pay attention. Learn how to spot the deep fakes. Learn how to use personal A.I. to further our own goals. The more you explore A.I. the more you understand. The more you understand, the more you are able to vote intelligently when A.I. regulations are proposed.

An easy way to play with a personal A.I.

If you have an Android device, I recommend you install the Microsoft Copilot app. What is so fun about the Copilot app is that it can create images as well as written content. If you have an iOS device, I recommend you install the ChatGPT app by OpenAI. ChatGPT was the first A.I. chatbot and it is still the gold standard. It can’t create images, but it can let you ask questions by speaking and it will speak back to you. Once you have an app, ask it a question like: “Summarize the GeeksOnTour.com website.” or “Write a limerick about my dog Rex running on the beach.” For copilot you could ask: “Draw a cartoon style image of my Golden Retriever, Rex, running on the beach.

What exactly IS Artificial Intelligence?

A.I. is the next level of technology. I see it as a continuation of humanity’s development of tools. It started with fire, then steam, electricity, computers, and Internet. That is a bit of an over-simplification, I know, but the point is that A.I. ranks up there with the top milestones of humanity’s progress. In fact, it may be the most impactful of all. It enables technology to perform tasks that only humans could do before. The characteristic of A.I. that stands out from all other technologies, making it human-like, is that it can learn and grow all on its own. When Deepmind’s AlphaGo A.I. beat the world champion GO player, it was first given the rules of the game, then it basically played against itself millions of times to learn what works and what didn’t. Go is an ancient board game that is much more complex than Chess. AlphaGo stunned the world in 2016 when it beat the world champion using moves that had never before been seen.

A.I. is many things both large and small. When ChatGPT responds to my prompt to write a poem about scuba diving – that is A.I. in action at a small level. When scientists use A.I. to find a cure for cancer, and every child has a free, private, personal A.I. tutor – that is large scale A.I. If you were around in the 80s and 90s, what would you tell someone who asked you what computers can do? You could have answered that they can sort names and addresses by last name or by zip code in a matter of seconds – a little thing. You could also have answered that they would make global, instant communication possible – a very big thing.

The realm of A.I. is expansive and multifaceted, encompassing a vast array of technologies and applications. Attempting to write a single description is like trying to capture the complexity of an entire galaxy with a snapshot.

We are currently at the stage with A.I. that we were with the Internet in the early 90s – it’s a proven technology with an unlimited horizon of possibilities ahead. There is no simple answer to “what is A.I.” The Internet was a novelty in the 90s. Within 20 years it was running our world. A.I. is advancing much faster. According to Peter Diamandis (my favorite technology optimist)

By the end of this decade (2020s) there are going to be two kinds of companies: those that are fully utilizing AI and those that are out of business.

Peter Diamandis

A final note – I am trying to understand A.I. just like you. I have been fascinated with technology since the early 80s and I try to see the big picture. Here are some of the resources I used:

MrsGeek

2 replies on “Are you ready for Artificial Intelligence?”

  1. Where did ‘Artificial Intelligence’ come from? I am leary of using anything with ‘Artificial’ around it as artificial is really a fake. For instance: artificial vanilla extract is not really vanilla extract but something that tastes like vanilla but has zero vanilla in it. To my thinking ‘Artificial Intelligence’ is not truly intelligence, so why should we consider it to be anything important? If it is important, exactly from where did the intelligence come?

    • Ha! Interesting point. If you substitute the word “Machine” for “Artificial” I think it makes it clearer. Machine intelligence. It means that machines no longer need humans to program everything they do. The programming gets the machines started then they can learn on their own. It’s definitely Real.

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