In today’s technology driven world, the debate on the role of artificial intelligence is gradually heating up. According to computer scientists Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig, the term “Artificial Intelligence” is applied when a machine mimics ‘cognitive’ functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as ‘learning’ and ‘problem solving’.
In contrast to artificial intelligence or AI, is the process automation which takes manual tasks that do not need much learning and simply mechanizes them.
Automation simply mechanizes routine tasks. But in AI, the computer program itself learns as it goes along, creating a database of information which themselves generate additional computer programming code as they learn more, without the need for an army of computer programmers. In AI speak, this is now often referred to as ‘deep learning’.
While AI as a term is familiar to the industry, deep learning is what’s been in the limelight lately. Deep learning is a subset of machine learning, which in turn falls under the much broader umbrella of AI, all of whose broad goals are to make computers do things outside of the box of precise programmed instructions.
Deep learning refers to the use of specialised computer programs called neural networks — computational representations of points resembling biological neurons in the brain — stacked in (deep) layers, where information flows between the layers. Such a program can be fed large amounts of information — for instance, images, from which they automatically detect and learn implicit features that they can later use to make predictions about novel information.
While deep-learning programs are incredible feats of engineering and promise great advancements in AI, they cannot be applied to all problems. These programs are highly specific to their scopes and require a lot of tuning and trial and error by humans.
While tasks, whether or not they need continuous learning, can be automated, there is one thing that a soulless machine can never do, and that is to have living consciousness.