So I’m building a new startup. Something exciting, something new. But most importantly I keep learning. I think that’s the most exciting part. Being static technologically for a long time kind of made my programming skills quite rusted. I’m not complaining, oh no, I gained heaps of new skills, sales, people management, accounting and relationships management. But I kind of missed talking to the computer through their own language. So I’m back to it.
One thing that is my goal in the new startup is to learn Artificial Intelligence. At least the basics. I’m not talking about making self-driving cars but something simple like a chatbot that will be able to have a simple conversation with a user. I read a little bit today and I have to say AI is still based on the foundations I’ve learned over 15 years ago at uni studying computer science.
When we’re scared that AI will take over the world we imagine Terminator-like machines. But we’re really, really far from that. However – we’ve not fully safe either.
The progress really depends on philosophy and people’s ability to adapt to the new reality. The famous trolley problem is a perfect example. If the trolley runs full speed to kill 5 people, would you press the button yourself and take the responsibility to change its direction to kill 1 person? Similarly to self-driving cars – it’s up to a programmer to write the code and tell the car – in extreme situation either kill the pedestrian or the driver. Maybe we should have a “responsibility” button in the car? All of that dilemma slows us down because self-driving cars exist for many years already, despite that we’re so afraid of them that we are not going to let them drive for some time.
There’s also the will of having the power. We, humans, love the power whether it’s through ruling or money or anything else, we just love being above the other entity. That’s why even though self-driving cars are proven to be much much safer than us humans driving, we don’t want to let it decide about our faith. Why would the computer decide for me if I have a more sophisticated brain? I don’t care that millions of people die on the roads worldwide annually, I drive just fine.
And finally bad people. AI is nothing else than an algorithm still. It’s literally: if A then B or else C. It all depends on a programmer and a person managing/controlling the device. Sure, the machine can do a lot of tasks by itself – recognise a person, fly, cook etc. But in the end, the task requires human connection and that’s where the real danger lies. Because AI in the hands of scientists and startups is very exciting. AI in the hands of the military and terrorists not so much.
That’s why I think the progress will be stalled and I don’t think I’ll live to see even R2-D2 (Star Wars reference) running on the street. However, in many cases, like in my startup, basic AI can be very helpful. It can help us with some tasks that we hate doing and are monotonous and repetitive. We’ve invented computers to help us not to play games. So I’m really excited about learning a little bit about it. Don’t expect me to become master in the field but I’m eager to learn and hopefully sooner than later show you something I’ve done 🙂