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Artificial intelligence: will we be aware when we've made a breakthrough?
Computing, 08 Jul 2010, Peter Cochrane
When chess champion Gary Kasparov was defeated by the Deep Blue computer in 1997, he and the chess world were outraged.
Sound bites included: "Something strange is going on", "It didn't play a regular game of chess", "It didn't play like a human" and "It didn't play fair".
But no one asked the most important question - how did it win?
The key here was a new intelligence had entered the game: a powerful computer that didn't think like us. And nor should it, because it was bringing a new dimension and a new way of solving the problem.
Between the years 1975 and 1995 all the technologies of visualisation that we enjoy today were in their infancy. Electronic displays, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AVR) and 3D all existed, but all were basic, big, power hungry, expensive and the preserve of large laboratories.
Since 1995 technology advances have seen huge improvements in resolution, fidelity, sensitivity, power consumption, size, weight, and dramatic reductions in cost.
In addition, computing power and memory have grown exponentially, with optical fibre and wireless connectivity seemingly becoming ubiquitous. There has also been a realisation that networking is a primary mechanism for collaboration.
Further developments of note are those in humanoid and non-humanoid robotics, telepresence, artificial life, modelling and games, 3D replicators, nano-structures, bio-manipulation and design, plus of course the rise in machine-based intelligence.
Today we are constantly surprised by AI systems and the answers they contrive, and on many occasions we lack the facility to fully understand. But that does not preclude us using the results. We have gradually realised that the solution of many industrial, scientific and governmental problems will continue to defy human abilities. So the question is, could AI provide further and significant enhancements to the world of visualisation?
Sensors have largely been neglected as components of intelligence thus far, but they are fundamental to the intelligence of anything. Interestingly, sophisticated sensors have only recently emerged as ‘key capability' components in robotics, and control systems.
With the arrival of a myriad of sensor components and their rapid deployment on the periphery of networks, the internet, robotics, large and small systems, we are much closer to creating true artificial intelligence than ever before.
When combined with our existing and established approaches to visualisation it could result in significant advance in the way we view, experience, and react to complex situations.
Interestingly, this will also see a marked change in the way our systems react to us. So if this is only a matter of when, and not what if, there is only one question left to ask: will we be smart enough to recognise a new intelligence when it spontaneously erupts on the internet or within some other complex system we build?