Michael on Linked

Showing posts with label smart science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label smart science. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND CHILDREN OF THE 21ST CENTURY AND BEYOND

When I was a youngster in the latter part of the 1940s, my siblings and I would spend holiday time at a relative's farm. The only communication with the outside world was a telephone with the mouthpiece attached to the body of the phone and the receiver at the end of a cord. As the farm was miles from nowhere, the telephone was on a party line, a circuit shared by two or more subscribers.

As I remember, there were approximately a dozen subscribers in the party, each distinguished by a particular phone ring. When a phone call had to be made, the caller would crank a handle on the side of the phone a couple of times to reach an operator. The caller would then ask the operator to put the call through to a particular number. There was little privacy as any party member could listen in on any other party member's call.



Seventy years have gone by and the world is now connected with digital communication devices called smartphones. These phones incorporate artificial intelligence in many ways; voice recognition, facial and fingerprint recognition, camera object recognition and digital assistants with two examples being Siri and Alexa.



The words artificial intelligence or AI were first used by John McCarthy one of the "founding fathers" of artificial intelligence. He together with Alan Turing, Marvin Minsky, Allen Newell, and Herbert A. Simon supported the first academic conference and organized the famous Dartmouth conference in the summer of 1956 on the subject matter.

 However, the journey towards understanding whether machines could actually think for themselves began sometime before that date with the invention of the programmable computer in the 1940s. The workings of this new machine were based on mathematical reasoning and the deliberations and research behind it inspired some scientists into discussing the possibility of establishing an electronic genius, thus, an artificial intelligence.

Children born in the 1950s are now in their sixties. AI has been around for approximately fifty percent of its lifetime. Over the years, this generation and subsequent generations have adjusted to AI being commonplace in their lives; particularly those who live in the more advanced technological societies. Children born in the 21st century are born into a world where AI is integral to their daily work and personal lives. Voice-activated smartphones, AI in toys, GPS devices for family vehicles, smart homes, banking, and the internet are of the few of the applications most commonplace in the lives of children today.



Babies born in the 21st century no more think of AI as a wonder as they grow into childhood than children born in the '30s, '40s and '50s thought about radio. From the time they are old enough to grasp objects, they are subject to a broad variety of AI applications. AI is as much a part of kids lives today as radio was in the lives of children in the 1940's and 50's and television in the '70s and '80s.

As self-driving vehicles become more commonplace, children will be driven to school in autonomous school buses. Children in small rural communities will be taught by robot teachers or over the internet by intelligent bots. They will grow up in smart homes where instead of physically turning on and off lights, rooms will light up for them as they enter and darken when they leave. When they arrive home from school, AI technology will recognize them and open the door to the family home and lock it behind them where they will be greeted by their friendly AI home care bot. Children are now interacting with smart toys, refrigerators, entertainment centers, heating, lighting systems; all a part of their everyday life. And, AI researchers are now realizing that by paying attention to how children learn and process information, they can gain valuable information about how best to develop machines that learn.

Young adults and children born surrounded by digital technology for the past five years are defined as of digital natives. This group is growing exponentially. By 2025, digital natives are expected to comprise as much as 75% of the global workforce. With their comfort and knowledge of AI and machine learning technology, digital natives are now having a tremendous impact on the worldwide business landscape.

As well as the soaring number of digital natives there will be a predictable decrease in the price of digital technologies, an increase of their geographical extension and a drop in the age of users. In the most wired areas, it is now commonplace to see small children in different parts of the world watching the same cartoon or interactive children's program on their parents’ laptop, smartphone or tablet at a beach, a park or on a plane or bus, providing downtime for their parents. This is one aspect of using artificial intelligence and digital technology as a mobile child caregiver. And this is only the beginning.



Imagine children, immersing themselves into virtual reality worlds while robot nannies supervise them. Having AI friends or artificial teachers will become commonplace. As digital technology passes over our technological doorsteps, current and future parents must familiarize themselves with the latest digital tech aimed at kids to try to prepare for the impact AI will have on their lives. It is somewhat difficult for Millennial parents for children growing up with AI technologies simply take them for granted. Pre-millennial parents or digital immigrants as they are sometimes known as, still remember the time when portable, WIFI-enabled technology was the stuff of science fiction.

New parents of today and ongoing into the future need to teach their kids how to survive in the digital as well as the real world. The first generation to grow up in the 21st century will never remember a time before smartphones or smart assistants. They will likely be the first children to make riding in self-driving cars commonplace. As well, they will become the first human beings whose health care and education could be turned over to intelligent machines.

Futurists, demographers, and marketers are now beginning to agree on the specifics of what defines the next wave of humanity to follow Generation Z or Millennials. The term Generation Alpha now denotes children born into a fully-realized digital age. The term applies to children born since 2105. By 2025, Generation Alpha will account for 2 billion of the global population. These children are considered to be the most technologically savvy demographic to date.

Generation Alpha is born into the world of smartphones and tablets. They don't know or can't imagine life without them. A new generation of children's toys with personalities powered by artificial intelligence will give kids more than holiday playthings. Unlike electronic pets of the past, such as  Furby and Tamagotchi that sparked holiday crazes in the late '90s, the new robotic drones and droids on store shelves are comprised of genuine AI technology. They include face recognition; they respond to voice commands with reasonable consistency and have very sophisticated AI processors. They are microprocessors and computer systems designed specifically as hardware acceleration for artificial intelligence applications in the areas of machine learning, neural networks and machine visualization.

A very gifted little AI toy with a mind of his own is Cozmo. He is a real-life robot of a kind previously only seen in science fiction movies. This little toy has a one-of-a-kind personality that evolves the more a child plays with it. It will even nudge its owner to play and keeps kids constantly surprised. Cozmo and its more advanced cousin, Vector have been developed by Anki, a company founded by three graduates of Carnegie Mellon's robotics Ph.D program. These little tank-like robots are so full of personality that even AI experts have to take an educated guess at how intelligent their artificial intelligence is. As advances in AI progress, technology will progress from using pre-programmed responses to truly showing adaptive learning in its responses.



Parents will soon have to ask themselves the following question: Do we really want toys to grow with our children? The answer is yes; parents should. Not only will it be less drain on parents' wallets, but the new AI toys will incorporate optimal learning information because they can tailor their entertainment and messages to the level of skill a child exhibits.

Educators have long known that knowledge can be more lodged in a student’s brain when the student has to explain what they have learned to another student. In other words; peer learning. This was not anticipated in interactions with intelligent machines and is leading to a whole new field of development, not only in children but in machines that will learn for themselves.

Groundbreaking research in children's education is now indicating that a robot toy is more valuable to a child’s education, not as a teacher but as a student. In other words, by creating an intelligent robot that purposely makes mistakes and prompting the child to correct does more for the child’s education than lecturing them. 

Educational AI researchers propose that AI educational toys always need to display slightly less intelligence than their child user so as the child “teaches” the robot, the robot steps up its game and continuously challenges the child.

Where AI and the education and entertainment of children go from here, nobody knows. The only certainty is AI is here to stay. 





Monday, July 29, 2019

Is Artificial Intelligence The Next Step in Human Evolution?

What is Artificial Intelligence or AI? Very simply, AI is intelligent machines that work and react like humans. Artificial intelligence can be classified as three different types of systems; 


Analytical: 
Analytical AI only has characteristics consistent with cognitive intelligence such as thinking, reasoning or remembering using learning based on past experience to inform future decisions. 

Human-inspired:
Human-inspired AI has elements of cognitive and emotional intelligence and an understanding of human emotions and is used in conjunction with decision making.

Humanized artificial intelligence:
Humanized AI shows characteristics of all types of competencies (i.e., cognitive, emotional, and social intelligence) and is able to be self-conscious and is self-aware in interactions with others.

There are many areas of business, government and human entertainment that are well suited to the use of AI including but not limited to the following: 

  • Agriculture
  • Aviation
  • Education
  • Computer Science
  • Finance
  • Medical Care
  • Government
  • Heavy Industry
  • Mining
This list will continue to expand as  new generations of computers emerge and as the learning curve among the AI scientific community begins to flatten out. 

The science has not been around for that long. A handful of scientists back in the 1950's from a variety of fields (mathematics, psychology, engineering, economics and political science) began to discuss the possibility of creating an artificial brain. In 1956, the field of artificial intelligence research was then founded as an academic discipline.


There are a number of eminent scientists credited with founding of artificial intelligence science, foremost among them was Alan Turing, a young British mathematician who explored the mathematical possibility of artificial intelligence. Turing suggested that if humans could use available information as well as reason in order to solve problems and make decisions, why couldn't machines do the same thing? This was the logical framework of his 1950 paper, Computing Machinery and Intelligence in which he discussed how to build intelligent machines and how to test their intelligence.

However, before Turing could move further in this new science, computers had to change dramatically. They were at that time, essentially very smart calculating machines and while they could execute commands, they had no means of storing them. Some years later computer scientist and cognitive psychologist Allen Newell, political scientist, economist and sociologist Herbert A. Simon and systems programmer John Clifford Shaw all working at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California, developed the Logic Theorist Offsite Link, the first program deliberately engineered to mimic the problem solving skills of a human being. 

They decided to write a program that could prove theorems in the propositional calculus like those in Principia Mathematica by Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell, a three-volume work on the foundations of mathematics written in 1910, 1912, and 1913. The first application of AI used in a practical manner was created by Joseph Weizenbaum in 1965 who developed ELIZA, an interactive program that carried on a dialogue in the English language on any topic. Weizenbaum, who wanted to demonstrate the superficiality of communication between man and machine, was surprised by the number of people who attributed human-like feelings to the computer program.


Artificial intelligence is becoming very good at many “human” jobs such as diagnosing disease, translating languages and providing customer service and as AI continues to evolve, there are reasonable fears among many people that artificial intelligence will ultimately replace humans in many jobs and occupations in industry and in the economy at large. 

Some AI scientists feel that is not an inevitable or even most likely outcome. While AI will radically alter how work gets done and who does it, the technology’s larger impact will be in complementing and augmenting human capabilities, not replacing them. Many developers of AI feel that with collaborative intelligence, humans and AI can actively enhance each other’s complementary strengths. What comes naturally to people such as humor is difficult for machines, and what is straightforward for machines such as analyzing terabytes of data very quickly is out of reach of the human brain. In our rapidly evolving world, regardless of whether it is business, education, industry, space exploration, quantum physics or medicine, all are going to require both kinds of capabilities.

The unanswered question at this point is; at some point in the future, will there be a emergence of AI and the human intelligence, therefore the next evolving step of the homo sapiens species and it's unique brain? To some, the answer is an unequivocal yes. 


At this stage of human evolution, there will be no turning back and the human race will be entering either a brave new world of human / machine collaboration or a world where humans evolve into machines.