LIDAR

Where AI has already taken over

We talk of a future where Artificial Intelligence will take over and rule the world, but in a way that has already started happening. The most important currency in the world is information. Once if you could control a few newspapers and subsequently TV channels you could control the narrative.

Now thanks to social media, billions of people are ranting, opinionating and spreading whatever news they feel like all day. There is so much information, that we all are dependent on our social media news feed and that is fully ruled by algorithms. Tech companies tailor algorithms that suit them but they seem to have a life of their own. Content which they want to suppress ends up going viral.

It’s not just the news and views industry, but the whole experience of shopping has changed. This is more powerful than social media because ecommerce sites know all your personal details: real name, address, ordering preferences, time of being active throughout the day and finally all the buying preferences that involve every aspect of your life.

There was a news report of an ecommerce website knowing that a woman got pregnant even before she could learn of it. AI is already deciding a huge chunk of news and views (and hence culture and politics) along with why, how, what and when you want to buy. (The “where” is predominantly going to be online)

Alexa is taking over the smart home. It currently sounds like a toy but going forward it will end up deciding your complete lifestyle preferences. In the 2013 movie Her, Joaquin Phoenix (more famous of Joker, 2019), makes his AI virtual assistant his life companion. The AI Samantha is voiced by Scarlett Johansson.

All this is still the tip of the iceberg. AI is getting deep into science, politics, culture and business. There will not be a single aspect of your life which will remain untouched by it. It’s a matter of time. For the huge volume of data that we have to crunch, AI is the only option. AI will be an assistant to everything and everyone (and finally the master?).

The Turing Test “is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.” In a way we have already passed the Turing Test. Bots can fool humans into thinking they are humans. In one trial test they beat actual boys in getting dates with actual girls.

Herein lies the caveat for India as we are woefully behind in the AI space. We started playing global catch-up after the liberalization of 1991 and have made strides in the last decade in other fields. But the Indian AI frontier is still far away.

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