Artifical Intelligence is No Longer a Fantasy, It is Here and Now

Everyone holds or has held excitement, at one time or another, for the progression of artificial intelligence, or AI. Let’s face it: The idea of robots that can download the entire Internet into their brains, deflect bullets with their hands, shoot missiles out of their arms, and complete any other task a human can, but faster and more effectively, is a cool idea to think about.

Now presently, AI may not be what most of us have envisioned, but it is nevertheless a powerful force in many applications that we use everyday.

If you watch Netflix or Youtube, in all likelihood the vast majority of entertainment you watch has been chosen for you by artificial intelligence. AI is behind the curtains, picking all of the shows and videos that these two platforms put in your “recommended” page. The algorithm analyzes huge amounts of data about what you have watched recently, and what other users who seem to have similar preferences to you have watched recently, and picks shows and videos that it thinks you will want to watch. Moreover, the data on this service indicates that these recommendations have a huge impact on what media we end up viewing.

In other instances, AI reveals itself in more obvious forms. This includes personal assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, or Google Assistant. Alexa alone has sold over 100 million copies since its conception towards the end of 2014. This is evidence of how much added convenience this facet of AI can single-handedly add to our lives, even in a relatively primitive stage of its development.

The examples are endless, from self-driving cars to ways google optimizes its search engine. While artificial intelligence today may not look like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator, or the Avengers’ Ultron, it is making radiating impacts on numerous different areas of our lives, even in the early stages of its existence. However, this does not come without its risks. Fear that products such as Amazon’s Alexa are being used as spyware to listen in on your daily conversations, or balancing personal freedom and AI’s input on what media we watch provokes the question: where do we draw the ethical line with AI, and when does convenience end up compromising security and freedom?

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