Artificial intelligence is not a new term. The field of AI research appeared in 1956, and since then it has experienced ups and downs. In the 21st century, cognitive technologies have finally succeeded and started gaining traction. But together with an increasing interest came the misconceptions about artificial intelligence. Many people have fears about their future because of the unknown potential of technology.
In this blog post, we would like to act as mythbusters and tell you about the popular AI myths and facts.
What Is AI?
A common misconception concerns the AI definition. The first thing that comes to mind for most is a humanoid robot that can move, talk and perform other human actions. But AI and robots are not synonymous, as they are entirely different concepts. They overlap only in that there are robots controlled by AI programs. Thus, AI is akin to a brain for them.
Let’s clear up the definition: artificial intelligence is an area of computer science that aims to create machines that work and act like humans. It consists of three interrelated concepts:
- Training Data (TD) — the initial dataset that the algorithm learns from. It contains inputs and possible outputs so that machine learning models can find patterns for the given information. The better the TD is, the better the algorithm performs.
- Machine Learning (ML) — the software that teaches algorithms to learn automatically from examples, instructions or direct experience. The main goal of ML is to create machines that can learn, develop and improve for themselves without explicit programming and human assistance, and make better decisions as a result.
- Human-in-the-Loop (HITL) — a machine learning model that requires human interaction. Since machines can’t be faultless and are only 70% accurate, human assistance is needed in case there are mistakes or if the level of confidence is low.
Thus, AI is a complex process of simulation of human actions by machines. Let’s dispel the most common myths about AI and machine learning.
Myth 1: AI Is Only for Large Businesses with Huge Investments
The development of artificial intelligence solutions seems to be extremely complicated and scientific. Thinking about machine intelligence, people imagine futuristic robots, autonomous drones and self-driving vehicles. This tends to suggest that only an advanced tech company such as Amazon, Apple or Google with billion-dollar budgets and extended teams of scientists and experts can afford to implement AI.
Reality: AI Is for Every Business
Actually, AI implementation doesn’t always require substantial expert research and investments of millions of dollars. There are many ready-made intelligent tools available for a vast range of companies that can be used to apply AI to their business processes. Intelligent technologies are present in many aspects of our lives, but we may not notice them or think of them as of artificial intelligence. The popular examples are personal assistants such as Siri, chatbots, search engines, Google maps, autopilots, fraud detection functions, purchase predictions, and more.
There’s nothing mysterious in the AI concept, and it can be introduced into any business. It can be integrated with the corporate system of any company (not just of the technological giants). The process will require more expertise in the company’s needs rather than deep data science knowledge.
Myth 2: AI Algorithms Can Process Any Data
It’s generally believed that machine learning algorithms are the most important elements in the whole system. An algorithm may seem to be all-powerful and is equated with the human brain that can make sense of any messy data.
Reality: The Quality and Quantity of Data Matters
Algorithms don’t possess magic power and are not able to make decisions out of nowhere without human intervention. The working principle of machine learning models is not “load and go.” They need a definite set of data from which they learn to be provided by specialists. If you don’t provide the high-quality customized data, even the greatest algorithm will not give you the perfect outcome.
The quality and quantity of training data (TD) are as important as the algorithm itself. The data should be digestible by the system. Bad data negatively influences performance, while carefully processed data provides good results.
Myth 3: Cognitive Technologies Can Solve Any Problems and Make Independent Decisions
Many people believe that cognitive programs are self-sufficient and can exist and run entirely on their own. This implies that computers can learn the way humans learn.
Reality: Cognitive Technologies Can’t Solve Problems They are Not Taught to Solve
There are certain processes that cognitive programs are able to perform independently in order to improve customer experience, e.g. a service of personalized music recommendations. But in general, artificial intelligence technologies can only address the problems they are taught to address on the basis of the given data. This means that AI still needs scenarios and use cases defined by people. Programs can’t define new scenarios themselves.
Artificial neural networks that can perform really complicated tasks, emulating the way biological neurons, do exist. But they are still a long way from achieving the complexity of the human brain neural nets.
Cognitive techniques can’t do without people. The mechanism of human thought is extremely complicated, and there are no such technologies that can fully replace it yet (if ever will be).
Myth 4: AI Will Replace Human Jobs
The worst fear of many employees is that AI will replace them in their workplace, resulting in widespread job loss. This myth of artificial intelligence has the right to exist, as the technological progress has always been threatening jobs throughout history.
Reality: AI Complements Humans
The problem does exist, but it’s not so serious. Artificial intelligence is meant to cooperate with people, making processes more efficient, but not replace the workers. New technologies will inevitably influence the current labor market:
- Some jobs will be eliminated
- Some jobs will be transformed
- New jobs will be created
Artificial intelligence benefits in the area of jobs are more significant than negative aspects it may bring. In the future, people and machines will work side by side augmenting each other, creating products of better quality and simplifying processes. There will always be the need for humans, but with different skills.
Myth 5: Humanity Will Be Conquered During the AI Revolution
People often imagine the artificial intelligence future as dark times when robots and terminators enslave people and destroy our world. The reality is not so pessimistic.
Reality: There Will Be No Rise of the Machines
AI is not going to take over the world as it can’t function without human control. Machines are not able to think the way people do and will hardly learn to do so. On the contrary, machines will have positive effects on society by assisting people in many fields, creating new business models, skills and communities.
There will be no AI revolution — there will be an intelligent technological evolution from which society will benefit.
The Bottom Line
There are always numerous myths and prejudices around innovations, and artificial intelligence is no exception. We want to say that you shouldn’t believe them without understanding the essence of the concept. Rather, you should believe in the progress and the common sense in everything concerning technologies.
SaM Solutions uses AI techniques in its projects and has expertise in implementing intelligent system management and creating cognitive computing software with intelligent elements. Our specialists will be happy to answer any questions you might have regarding cognitive technologies.