We already live in the age of artificial intelligence.
Think about it. AI helps you connect with people on social media by analyzing and comparing your activity and mutual networks, sifts through spam, and presents you with captcha puzzles to determine whether you are a human. You're probably even reading this article because an AI thought you'd like it.
AI helps forecast the weather. The fruit you eat grows in environments controlled by AI. It even drives your car instead of you. That inspiring image you saw a couple of days ago? Who knows, maybe it was done by AI.
Although we can't see it, AI is all around us, seeping into every pore of our society. It has steadily grown to become an invaluable benefactor in our daily lives.
We haven't come to terms with this yet since, well, we have other expectations from AI.
Since humanity's earliest engineering endeavors we have strived towards creating a perfect automaton - something able to perform the same tasks as us, but built with many times our capabilities and no need for rest or leisure.
This concept is the idea behind artificial general intelligence (AGI), an AI capable of everything a human intelligence can do.
From mythology to fiction we have romanticized the concept of general AI. It should come as no surprise then that we expect AI to be nothing less than a full-fledged android that walks, talks, thinks, and outperforms humans in every domain.
Needless to say, we are nowhere near creating a general AI.
On the other hand, we have become quite adept at making narrow AI. Instead of replacing human intelligence on a general level, narrow AI is designed to master a single purpose in a narrowly-defined field.
While we as society were waiting for a human copy, the single-purpose AI crept into our lives. Deep Blue beat a reigning world chess champion back in 1997. Narrow AIs talk with us as chatbots and voice bots, modify the appearance of, or even replace actors on screens, and perform medical surgeries. In fact, they dominate many fields of previously human industry.
Although Deep Blue most definitely shouldn't be allowed to operate on people and a medical surgery AI couldn't beat a 9 year-old child at chess, we are surrounded by countless "masters-of-their-trade" AI, so much so that it has made this difference irrelevant.
As you are reading this, our society is experiencing a narrow-AI renaissance, with countless advances we rely on brought to reality with the help of machine learning.
The transformative power of generative AI on our society has come under the spotlight in recent months, especially with the rise of text-to-image AI models.
That we have crafted AI which continues to create on their own is fundamentally game-changing. While art has always been considered the "most human" of all society's activities, this claim is now under challenge.
AI models such as DALL-E 2, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion have displayed the capabilities to make art. New, creative works, distinguished by their ingenuity, originality, and beauty. Complete in minutes, evocative of different painters, and proficient in various styles, this type of art generated by AI has carved open the path that we have yet to fully explore.
Art-making AI has seen the most exposure, but it is by no means the only type of generative art shaping our society. Flawless AI, for example, uses neural networks to reinvent dubbing at its core. And deep-fake Keanu Reeves on TikTok still has some people thinking it's the actor's account almost a year after it was made. Besides, even the copywriting business is susceptible to AI transformation as text-to-text generative AI makes advances in huge strides. It sure did a good job explaining itself to our readers in this article.
The amount of content we can create with just textual input and a little AI, whether it's more text, pictures, videos, or sounds, is stunning. And we've just started!
AI makes possible what used to be science fiction. No, we haven't invented healing nanobots yet, but big leaps forward have been made that turned some traditional, AI-less modes of doing things obsolete.
As a part of a major genetic sequencing innovation, Stanford medicine scientists joined arms with AI to sequence the patient's whole genome in five hours. The result provided a diagnosis of a rare genetic disorder in just eight hours and replaced a previous procedure that is "rapid" when it takes "a few weeks".
Have you heard of human-engineered biology? AI made it possible as Cradle lets us design custom proteins. From animal-free meat to cosmetics and biofuel, the AI uses machine learning-powered reverse-engineering to recreate natural protein architectures. This lets bioengineers drastically reduce the time of research on virtually any protein-related projects. No coding, just a text prompt!
The list goes on. A COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna, was developed by heavily relying on AI. Diabetic retinopathy, or sight loss due to diabetes, is getting tackled by providing low-cost diagnostics and treatment in place of previously unaffordable procedures in India.
Who knows how many more discoveries biology will yield in the face of AI in the next couple of years, maybe even months?
In addition to scientific breakthroughs, AI helps us manage things in the systems we already had before its introduction.
All sorts of optimization and streamlining of workplaces make us more efficient, requiring less work and less working hours from us. Smart marketing has invented non-intrusive methods of noting our preferences and opinions, delivering the content we actually want and need. AI does our mail, our sales, our coaching. It even helps us write/read contracts and pass legislation by automating certain translations and legislature language, as with this example in the Netherlands.
For better or for worse, it even does our homework. Thanks for spoiling us, AI!
Remember Deep Blue, the AI that beat the champion? Gary Kasparov stuck with experimenting with chess AI after that. The results of the experiment yielded a precious insight. A team of three slightly-above-average human players and an AI beat pure AI teams and pure human grandmaster teams at chess.
This is the picture of AI today. Instead of replacing us or discarding artificial intelligence, we perform best when allied in an effort to achieve brilliance. The role of AI in our society is vital. It helps us advance our lives, but only if we cooperate, only if we understand each other.
The goal of Skippet is to connect people and AI by cutting through the coding barrier. Join our waitlist if you wish to find yourself among the pioneers.