Artificial Intelligence

1894 Words8 Pages
Of all the technological developments of the modern age, none is as complex as artificial intelligence. The idea that a non-human, manufactured entity could advance to a point of emulating human behavior is enough to make people shiver. The idea of something so advanced that we will not be able to tell the difference may be even worse. In 1961 Philip Dick wrote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. It portrayed a world with these exact characteristics. Artificial Intelligence had advanced to a point of near-perfect human replication. In creating this world, Dick was echoing the speculations and fears of a.i. that had build up by that time. It would then continue to influence those opinions in the years after.

It is necessary to look at the development of artificial intelligence in order to put this idea into context. The concept of intelligent and aware constructs began to emerge in the 1950s and 60s as several scientists in many fields came together to discuss the possibilities of advanced computer research. The first major step was a scientific conference at Dartmouth College in 1956. Here, the general concepts and possible paths of research for a.i. were fleshed out. As described in Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, this conference was “the birth of artificial intelligence.” This was mostly a theoretical stage yet attending experts predicted that with a huge investment, working technology could be available in a generation (16). After being officially established, a.i. research and discovery exploded. Computer programs, a brand new idea, were already conquering algebra problems and speech recognition. Some could even reproduce English (18). It was clear that artificial intelligence research was going to be at the fo...

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.... Each stage of development increases our reliance and this in turn promotes advancement.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep described a dark world where artificial intelligences and humanity came into a form of conflict. Its predictions and ramifications are not easily dismissed and hold true even today. We are already seeing a.i. surpass humans in some fields. IBM's WATSON has passed humanity in terms of intellect. It will be some time before it is self-aware of that fact, but it is a milestone nonetheless. We also have artificial “slaves” in some small sense of the word. Machines to much of the heavy labor previously done by man. Massive assembly plants now only employ a few technicians to watch overt the computers. While a far cry away from slavery, the process has begun. We are addicted too we usefulness of machines and the addiction is impossible to cure.
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